Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Maine, Henry Sumner (1822–1888)
Sir Henry James Sumner Maine was a British jurist who invited scholars to take a more historical and anthropological approach to law. Maine's theory of legal development posed a significant challenge to the positivist legal theory of John Austin by arguing that there were no abstract, timeless necessary notions in law, but that legal doctrines and concepts were the product of the societies in which they had evolved. In his major work, Ancient Law (1861), Maine put forward a theory of legal development. The earliest law, he argued, consisted of the judgments of rulers claiming divine inspiration. It was succeeded first by an era of customary law and then an era of codes. In Ancient ...