1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gans, Eduard

GANS, EDUARD (1797–1839), German jurist, was born at Berlin on the 22nd of March 1797, of prosperous Jewish parents. He studied law first at Berlin, then at Göttingen, and finally at Heidelberg, where he attended Hegel’s lectures, and became thoroughly imbued with the principles of the Hegelian philosophy. In 1820, after taking his doctor’s degree, he returned to Berlin as lecturer on law. In 1825 he turned Christian, and the following year was appointed extraordinary, and in 1828 ordinary, professor in the Berlin faculty of law. At this period the historical school of jurisprudence was coming to the front, and Gans, predisposed owing to his Hegelian tendencies to treat law historically, applied the method to one special branch—the right of succession. His great work, Erbrecht in weltgeschichtlicher Entwicklung (1824, 1825, 1829 and 1835), is of permanent value, not only for its extensive survey of facts, but for the admirable manner in which the general theory of the slow evolution of legal principles is presented. In 1830, and again in 1835, Gans visited Paris, and formed an intimate acquaintance with the leaders of literary culture and criticism there. The liberality of his views, especially on political matters, drew upon Gans the displeasure of the Prussian government, and his course of lectures on the history of the last fifty years (published as Vorlesungen über d. Geschichte d. letzten fünfzig Jahre, Leipzig, 1833–1834) was prohibited. He died at Berlin on the 5th of May 1839. In addition to the works above mentioned, there may be noted the treatise on the fundamental laws of property (Über die Grundlage des Besitzes, Berlin, 1829), a portion of a systematic work on the Roman civil law (System des römischen Civil-Rechts, 1827), and a collection of his miscellaneous writings (Vermischte Schriften, 1832). Gans edited the Philosophie der Geschichte in Hegel’s Werke, and contributed an admirable preface.

See Revue des deux mondes (Dec. 1839).