Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Jurisprudence, from the Latin jnrisprudentia, which signifies a "knowledge of law." Jurisprudence indicates more than being simply acquainted with the rules of law as they exist in any given system. It means such an acquaintance with them as implies a knowledge of the law as a whole or system, a knowledge of the several parts, of their relation to one another and to the whole. The Roman jurisprudentes, who were writers on law, gave to the several rules of law which related to any given division of the whole matter a certain order and consistency. They developed and explained and arranged that which existed as an incoherent mass. Their influence on the development of law was great, both directly and indirectly, and the compilation of Justinian called the "Digest" or "Pandect," entirely composed of extracts from the writings of the Roman Jurists, gave to their opinions the force of law in the Roman Empire. Jurisprudence, generally, is conversant about those principles which are inseparable from all systems of law, or common to all systems of law; for, however systems of law may differ in fact, and however much they may appear to differ in form, there are fundamental principles which are common to all. The notion of possession, of property, of most of the ordinary contracts of life, of testaments, of intestacy, and the like, are essentially the same. The notions of person, natural and artificial, of right, of duty, and many other things, are universal and necessarily the same. It is the business of general jurisprudence to explain all these common notions, and to reduce the whole matter to one general form or system with which all particular systems of positive law may be compared. This has been done in various ways by different writers; but the best examples are by the German writers on law. When general jurisprudence becomes a regular part of a law student's education, it will lead to a more comprehensive study of our own law, to a more correct conception of its parts and their relations to one another, and, consequently, to a nearer approximation of the particular law of England to the true measure or standard of general law in those cases in which our particular system deviates from it. The study of general jurisprudence would be a sure, though a slow, corrective of many of the evils under which our existing society suffers.