Book Review: Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde: Geschichte der Rechts- und Staatsphilosophie Antike und Mittelalter
By Betsy Röben
Review of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde: Geschichte der Rechts- und Staatsphilosophie Antike und Mittelalter, CB Mohr 2002. XII, 452 Seiten. ISBN 3-16-147606-9 Leinen EURO 49.00; (UTB 2270) ISBN 3-8252-2270-5 Broschur EURO 21.90 German Constitutional Court judges rarely become household names. They can serve no more than twelve years on the court, their opinions are usually collective, and the actual author's identity is never officially specified unless he or she writes a lone dissent, which is not (yet) common practice. One of the manifold advantages of this system for the body politic is that judges, who must retire at the relatively young age of 68, often return to the professions they had set aside. Those returning to the professoriat have the potential to fortify their institutions, their students and their reading public with the experience gained in twelve demanding years on the court. Such has been the case with Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, who retired from the Bundesverfassungsgericht in May 1996, having served in the Second Senate since December 1983. He returned, emeritus, to his former position: Professor of public law, constitutional and legal history and legal philosophy at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau This portfolio, and the scope of his writings over the 45 years since his first book appeared, (1) render it no surprise that Böckenförde earned not one but two doctorate degrees, in law (Münster) and in philosophy (München). Böckenförde's Geschichte der Rechts- und Staatsphilosophie - Antike und Mittelalter does not draw directly on his labors at the Bundesverfassungsgericht. Nonetheless, the reader has the impression that Böckenförde finally concluded that, over the many years and countless days in the courtroom, library and lecture hall, he had at last amassed the sheer time and experience necessary to reflect upon and do justice to the book he...