Towards a Different Understanding of Legal Traditions. Comparative Law Insights

In the legal field, the definition of the term ‘tradition’ suffers from heterogeneous understandings. These epistemological difficulties hint at one of the determinants of the definition of ‘legal tradition’, namely, an appeal to predominantly endogenous cultural aspects and not purely legal forms of legitimacy in the narrow sense. ‘Tradition’ and ‘legal tradition’ are not two autonomous semantic fields, but rather different attempts for conceptualising experience. Methodologically, the ‘seeds’ of the concept of ‘legal tradition’ are scattered within the manuals of the last century, but classifications of legal traditions expose a relativistic attitude. Considering the legal experiences to date most prevalent, this contribution aims to propose a tripartition of legal traditions into (1) supernatural eschatological transcendent (Talmudic and Islamic legal forms); (2) supernatural cosmogonic immanent (Chthonic, Hindu, Confucian, Buddhist legal forms); and (3) Western/North Atlantic (civil law, common law, and their variants).

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