The book is a critical analysis of the work of Max Weber, Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx. It focuses on their separate analyses of the role of law in society, pointing out their faults and errors, and the resultant impact on modern social science. The author takes issue with Weber's work on rationality, with Durkheim's work on repressive and restitutive law, and with Marx's work on social justice and law as part of the super-structure.
In each section of the book he shows the implications that flow from a re-assessment and re-interpretation of their work for an understanding of society. The book is multi-disciplinary, making ample reference to law, sociology, anthropology, history, religion, ecology, criminology, philosophy and economics. Its various chapters discuss a wide range of themes, including rationality, tradition, science, political authority, conflict resolution, community, justice and altruism.
The world's longest lasting republic between ancient Rome and modern Switzerland, medieval Iceland (c. 870-1262) centered its national literature, the great family sagas, around the problem of can a republic survive and do justice to its inhabitants.
The Conflict of Law and Justice in the Icelandic Sagas takes a semiotic approach to six of the major sagas which depict a nation of free men, abetted by formidable women, testing conflicting legal codes and principles - pagan v. Christian, vengeance v. compromise, monarchy v. republicanism, courts v. arbitration. The sagas emerge as a body of great literature embodying profound reflections on political and legal philosophy because they do not offer simple solutions, but demonstrate the tragic choices facing legal thinkers (Njal), warriors (Gunnar), outlaws (Grettir), women (Gudrun of
Laxdaela Saga), priests (Snorri of
Eyrbyggja Saga), and the Icelandic community in its quest for stability and a good society. Guest forewords by Robert Ginsberg and Roberta Kevelson, set the book in the contexts of philosophy, semiotics, and Icelandic studies to which it contributes.
This book is a study of the theory of legal interpretation that underlies the legal systems of Europe, England, and the United States. The principles of interpretive jurisprudence are traced through Greek and Latin philosophers and legal theorists and Renaissance Italian glossators and commentators. In addressing human nature, these principles have a self-sustaining logical integrity. They are defensible as a worthy tradition of legal respect for the value of the individual.