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About Lawpedia®

The terminology collection Lawpedia® with emphasis on business law (esp. financial market law) offers you over 1000 terms and definitions. The contents of this terminology collection with an emphasis on business law (in particular financial market law) were researched by DDr. Marcel Lötscher with the greatest care and compiled on the basis of an extensive flashcard, training materials and literature. The various sources (as far as they could be found) are listed under the respective abbreviations and references. We would be pleased to receive your suggestions for further sources. However, despite the care taken, the provider cannot accept any liability for the accuracy, completeness and up-to-dateness of the information provided. In particular, the information is of a general nature and does not constitute legal advice in individual cases.

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By way of introduction, a well-known quote from the legal world (translated):

The jurists are worms that live only on rotten wood; turning away from the healthy, it is only the sick in which they nest and weave. By making the accidental its object, science itself becomes an accident; three correcting words of the legislator, and whole libraries become wastepaper.

Julius von Kirchmann (1802-1884)Die Werthlosigkeit der Jurisprudenz als Wissenschaft

Although in the meantime many further corrective words of the legislator have already been issued, we do not want to remain in pessimism like von Kirchmann. Rather, we would like to attempt to clarify at least some of the terminology. The indispensability of jurisprudence (Karl Larenz, 1903-1993) can also be explained in this way to a small extent. This in the knowledge that law is a living order, whose diversity can never be fully expressed conceptually-terminologically (Hans Welzel, 1904-1977).

Etymological excursus

A glossary (Latin glossarium) is a list of words with attached explanations of meaning or translations. As an appendix to a work, a glossary is also called a dictionary, and a stand-alone glossary is called a dictionary. The Latin glossarium refers as an object to a book that explains old, obsolete or foreign words.

Glossaries were already created in antiquity and the Middle Ages by so-called glossographers as collections of words in need of explanation for study. In modern times, a glossary is usually a list of words with linguistic explanations that open up a specific vocabulary. A technical glossary thus lists the terminology of a subject area with conceptual and factual definitions that are intended to ensure the correct use of these technical terms and their unambiguous understanding.

The German dictionary by Jacob and Johann Grimm is rightly accorded a special position in the history of German science, since it is the German-language dictionary with the longest compilation time and by far the most comprehensive coverage of the German language. In total, the elaboration took more than one hundred years and 16 volumes in 32 parts with more than 300,000 headwords were recorded. Started by the Brothers Grimm in 1838 and completed including source volume only in 1971. In the German dictionary, the term glossary and glossator are also mentioned, so it says in the eighth volume (column 210 ff.):

GLOSSAR, älter glossarium, n., 1) ‘wortverzeichnis, wörterbuch’, meist zu einem bestimmten text: in Tyrwhitts ausgabe (der werke Chaucers) wird sich das wort (priamel) im glossarium finden Herder 15, 124 S.; Martins glossar zu Nibelunge not Scherer-Müllenhoff briefwechsel 47 Leitzmann. auf den wortschatz einer sprache bezogen: es fehlt noch immer an einem glossarium des patois J. v. Müller s. w. (1810) 12, 113. 2) als terminus für die verdeutschenden wortlisten und -sammlungen der frühen überlieferung […].

The Grimm brothers also make comments on the glossator as a word clarifier (excerpt):

GLOSSATOR, m., ‘ausleger, worterklärer’, zufrühest bei Luther belegt (s. u.), vornehmlich zu glosse 1 b, als bezeichnung der juristischen kommentatoren […].

Glossators in secular and ecclesiastical law

In a narrower sense, glossators are the teachers of secular law. These interpreted the texts of the Corpus iuris (a collection of sources of ancient Roman law) in Italy in the 12th and 13th centuries. At the center of their work were the Digestes. They provided these texts with glosses (glossae), which were usually written in the margin or between the lines of the legal text. From this activity derives their designation as glossators. In addition, they described individual legal problems (summae) and resolved contradictions between different passages of the text (distinctiones). The founder of the Historical School of Law, Friedrich Carl von Savigny, was later to refer to the glossators as the book-learned reformers (of legal life). The Glossators thus provided indispensable groundwork for the reception of Roman law. Following the Glossators, the commentators attempted to close the increasingly obvious gap between pure legal doctrine and practically lived law. The canonists (canon law) also had glossators. However, they were called either decretists (commenting on the Decretum Gratiani) or decretalists (commenting on the papal decretal).

Source references

Digitales Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm im Internet, http://dwb.uni-trier.de/de/ (02.01.2021).

Kirkness, Alan (20120): Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jakob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm. In: Ulrike Haß (Hrsg.): Große Lexika und Wörterbücher Europas. De Gruyter, S. 211–232.

Kirchmann, Julius von (1848): Die Werthlosigkeit der Jurisprudenz als Wissenschaft, Verlag Julius Springer.

Larenz, Karl (1966): Über die Unentbehrlichkeit der Jurisprudenz als Wissenschaft, Berlin (1966_Larenz_Unentbehrlichkeit)

Hamm, Volker (2014): Das Grimmsche Wörterbuch – Stationen seiner Geschichte. In: IDS Sprachreport,  (2014_Harm_Woerterbuch).

Last updated 06.01.2021