Max Kaser

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Max Kaser (born April 21, 1906 in Vienna ; † January 13, 1997 in Ainring ) was a lawyer , professor at the universities of Münster , Hamburg and Salzburg , member of several academic academies and ten-time honorary doctorates .


Max Kaser's schooling took place in the university towns where his father, the historian Kurt Kaser (1870–1931), lived. This was initially on “1. k. and k. Staatsgymnasium ”in Graz , at whose university Kurt Kaser taught from 1908 to 1914 and from 1921, as well as Czernowitz and Salzburg .

Max Kaser studied law from 1924 to 1928 in Graz, where one of his fellow students was Walter Wilburg , and Munich . In Munich he was a student of Leopold Wenger . The doctorate took place on November 19, 1928 with Artur Steinwenter in Graz. As a student of Ludwig Mitteis , both were under his academic influence. In 1929 he worked with Leopold Wenger in Munich and received an assistant position at the University of Gießen , where he completed his habilitation with Otto Eger in June 1931 . Then he was a lecturer and chair representative in Gießen and Frankfurt am Main .

From 1932 he taught as the successor to Hans Kreller , who had been called to Tübingen , at the University of Münster. In 1933 he was appointed full professor of civil and Roman law . In 1937 he was dean . He declined calls to Heidelberg (1937), Freiburg (1939) and Marburg (1940). He was initially exempted from military service because of a heart condition, from 1943 he was drafted into the air defense. After a period in captivity , Max Kaser resumed teaching in Münster in 1946. Even afterwards he turned down offers to the universities of Marburg (1949), Graz (1951), Göttingen (1952), Heidelberg (1956) and Vienna (1959).

From 1959 he was a professor at the University of Hamburg . In 1971 he retired and until 1976, after discussions with Theo Mayer-Maly and Wolfgang Waldstein, held a teaching position as honorary professor and representative of the chair for Roman and civil law at the University of Salzburg .

He has been a full member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences since 1959 and of the Austrian Academy of Sciences since 1972 . Since 1960 he has been an external member of the Accademia di Lettere e Scienze Turin and the Istituto Lombardo di Lettere e Scienze Milan, from 1968 of the Accademia di Scienze Politiche e Morali Naples, since 1971 of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei , and in 1988 of the Academy of Athens . In 1973 he became a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , 1977 of the British Academy and 1975 honorary member of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies in London.



Max Kaser is considered the author of pioneering works on the way from ancient legal history to European private law . With his handbooks on Roman private law and civil procedural law, Max Kaser broke new ground in presenting legal material in its historical development and in processing and commenting on sources and literature using research methods developed in-house.

The Max Kaser Seminar at the University of Salzburg is named after him. The seminar's library, founded in 1966, consists of the working documents (books, offprints and magazines) from Ernst Levy , Erich Sachers and Max Kaser. It is kept up to date. His textbooks on private Roman law and Roman legal history achieved large print runs and have been translated into several languages, including Japanese and Korean. Kaser supervised the habilitations of Fritz Schwarz, Dieter Medicus , Hans Hermann Seiler , Hans-Peter Benöhr , Frank Peters , Rolf Knütel and Karl Hackl . From 1954 (volume 71) to 1972 (volume 89) Max Kaser was one of the editors of the Savigny Foundation's journal for legal history .

Publications (selection)

  • Restitutes as the subject of the process. First edition with the addition: A contribution to the doctrine of the substantive nature of the claims deduced in iudicium in classical Roman law. Second edition with the addition: The effects of the Litis Contestatio on the subject of performance in Roman law. Munich contributions to papyrus research and ancient legal history. Volume 16. Habilitation thesis. Munich 1932. 2nd edition 1968.
  • Quanti ea res est. Studies on the method of estimation of the litis in classical Roman law. Munich contributions to papyrus research and ancient legal history. Volume 23. Munich 1935.
  • Roman law as a community order. (= Law and State in Past and Present. Volume 126). Tübingen 1939.
  • Ownership and possession in older Roman law. Research on Roman Law. Volume 1 Part I. Weimar 1943. 2nd edition Cologne-Vienna 1956.
  • The ancient Roman ius. Studies on the legal concept and legal history of the Romans. Göttingen 1949.
  • Roman legal history. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1950. 2nd edition 1965 with reprints in the following years. ISBN 3-525-18102-7 . Italian translation: Storia del diritto romano. Milano 1977. Korean translation: Mak-su Ka-so-tso: Ro-ma bob-tse-sa. Seoul 1998. ISBN 89-86210-49-5 ( digitized ).
  • Handbook of Roman Private Law. Handbook of Classical Studies . Department 10: Ancient Legal History. Volume 3.3.1: Ancient Roman, Pre-Classical and Classical Law. 1955, 2nd edition 1971. Volume 3.3.2: The post-classical developments. 1959, 2nd edition 1975. Munich.
  • Roman private law. Short textbooks for legal studies. Munich 1960. From the 16th edition in 1992 continued by Rolf Knütel. 17th edition ISBN 3-406-41796-5 . 18th edition ISBN 3-406-53886-X . English translation: Rolf Dannenbring : Roman private law. 4th edition. University of South Africa. Pretoria 1984. ISBN 0-86981-316-1 . Japanese translation: Rōmashihōgaisetsu. Tokyo 1978. Dutch translation: Felix B. J. Wubbe : Romeins privaatrecht. 2nd edition Zwolle 1971. ISBN 90-271-0598-7 . Finnish translation: Roomalainen yksityisoikeus. Porvoo 1968. Swedish translation: Richard Nordqvist: Romersk privaträtt. Stockholm: Rättsgenetiska institutet. Jure [distr]. Stockholm 2013. ISBN 978-91-72235-30-4 .
  • On the method of finding Roman law. News from the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, philological-historical class. Göttingen 1962, 2nd edition 1969. Pages 50-78.
  • Roman civil procedural law. Handbook of Classical Studies. Department 10: Ancient Legal History. Volume 3.4. Munich 1966. 2nd edition 1996 edited by Karl Hackl. ISBN 3-406-40490-1 .
  • On the credibility of the Roman legal sources (beyond the limits of interpolation criticism). Firenze 1968. In: Atti del II congresso internazionale della Società Italiana di Storia del Diritto 1967.
  • On the methodology of Roman legal sources research. Austrian Academy of Sciences. Session reports of the philosophical-historical class. Volume 277, essay V. Wien-Graz 1972. ISBN 3-205-03671-9 .
  • Selected Writings. In: Ristampe 2. Pubblicazioni della Facoltà di Giurisprudenza dell'Università di Camerino. With a bibliography by Max Kaser on pages XI – XXVI. 2 volumes. Naples 1976 and 1977.
  • About prohibition laws and illegal business in Roman law. Austrian Academy of Sciences. Meeting reports of the philosophical-historical class. Volume 312. Vienna 1977. ISBN 3-7001-0171-6 .
  • A century of interpolation research on Roman legal sources. Austrian Academy of Sciences. Display of the philosophical-historical class. Vienna 1979. Pages 84-113.
  • together with Walter Selb and Franz Wieacker : Roman legal sources and applied legal method. Selected, partly fundamentally renewed treatises. Research on Roman Law. Volume 36. Vienna-Cologne-Graz 1986. ISBN 3-205-05001-0 .
  • Ius gentium. Research on Roman Law. Volume 40. Cologne-Vienna 1993. ISBN 3-412-05893-9 .
  • Sul metodo romano di individuazione del diritto attraverso la riflessione tecnica. In: Alessandro Corbino: Diritto e storia. l'esperienza giuridica di Roma attraverso le riflessioni di antichisti e giusromanisti contemporanei. Padova 1995. ISBN 88-13-19187-1 . Pages 149-184.


  • Hermann Baltl , Nikolaus Grass , Hans Constantin Faußner: Law and history. A contribution to the Austrian social and intellectual history of our time. Twenty historians and lawyers report from their lives (= studies on legal, economic and cultural history. Vol. 14). Sigmaringen 1990, ISBN 3-7995-2414-2 , pp. 135-149.
  • Hans-Peter Benöhr , Karl Hackl, Rolf Knütel , Andreas Wacke : Iuris professio. Celebration for Max Kaser on his 80th birthday. Vienna / Cologne / Graz 1986, ISBN 3-205-07210-3 .
  • Sebastian Felz: In the spirit of truth? Between science and politics. The Münster jurists from the Weimar Republic to the early Federal Republic. In: Hans-Ulrich Thamer , Daniel Droste, Sabine Happ (eds.): The University of Münster under National Socialism: Continuities and breaks between 1920 and 1960 (= publications of the Münster University Archives . Vol. 5). Aschendorff, Münster 2012, Vol. 1, pp. 347-412.
  • Tomasz Giaro : Max Kaser (1906-1997). In: Legal History Journal. Vol. 16 (1997), pp. 231-357.
  • Gabor Hamza: In memoriam Max Kaser (1906–1997). In: Annales Universitatis Scientiarum Budapestinensis de Rolando Eötvös nominatae. Sectio Juridica, 37: 127-130 (1996).
  • Gabor Hamza: In memoriam Max Kaser (1906–1997). In: Jogtudományi Közlöny. Vol. 52 (1997), p. 356 f.
  • Rolf Knütel: Max Kaser on his 90th birthday. In: New legal weekly . 1996, H. 17, p. 1121.
  • Rolf Knütel: Max Kaser †. In: New legal weekly . 1997, no. 22, p. 1492.
  • Dieter Medicus : Studies in Roman law. Festschrift for Max Kaser on the occasion of his 65th birthday, dedicated by his Hamburg students (= Hamburg Legal Studies. Vol. 65). Berlin 1973, ISBN 3-428-02915-1 .
  • Dieter Medicus, Hans Hermann Seiler: Festschrift for Max Kaser on the 70th birthday. Munich 1976, ISBN 3-406-06322-5 .
  • Dieter Medicus: Max Kaser on his 80th birthday. In: New legal weekly . 1986, no. 18, p. 1156.
  • Dieter Medicus: a portrait of lawyers. Publisher and authors in 4 decades. In: Festschrift for the 225th anniversary of the CH Beck publishing house. Munich 1988, ISBN 3-406-33196-3 , p. 447.
  • Mario Talamanca: Il riordinamento augusteo del processo privato. Max Kaser in memory. In: Gli ordinamenti giudiziari di Roma imperiale. Naples 1999, pp. 63-260.
  • Christian Wendt: Kaser, Max. In: Peter Kuhlmann , Helmuth Schneider (Ed.): History of the ancient sciences. Biographical Lexicon (= The New Pauly . Supplements. Volume 6). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2012, ISBN 978-3-476-02033-8 , Sp. 646 f.
  • Reinhard Zimmermann : Max Kaser and modern private law. In: Journal of the Savigny Foundation for Legal History . Romance Department, Vol. 115 (1998), pp. 99–114, DOI: 10.7767 / zrgra.1998.115.1.99 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Reinhard Zimmermann : Today's Law, Roman Law and Today's Roman Law . In: Reinhard Zimmermann u. a. (Ed.): Legal history and private law dogmatics. CF Müller, Heidelberg 1999, pp. 1-39 (23).