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On-line version ISSN 2411-7870
Print version ISSN 1021-545X


HENGSTL, Joachim. Fundamina (Pretoria) [online]. 2015, vol.21, n.1, pp.33-62. ISSN 2411-7870.

The ancient world saw the rise and fall of many cultures, with accompanying cultural exchanges and reciprocal influences. It seems that such reciprocal influences and exchanges extended to the law as well, and affected legal evolution. Old legal institutions were preserved for future generations but were influenced by newer cultures. This concept is not new, but Barta has revived it. He has embarked on a publication comprising four volumes, of which volumes 1, 2 (pt1/2) and 3 (pt 1) have appeared. The author has set out to prove that the influence of Greek law on Roman law was greater than has been acknowledged up until now, that Greek law was likewise influenced by the Old Orient, and that Roman law also influenced later legal systems. The one concern of this article is to show that Barta's theory is invalid. The other concern is to criticise Barta's approach. He does not cite the extensive literature on which he relies, but quotes it. He fills page after page with texts by other authors but does not discuss nor analyse their content. Thus the reader is provided with a wide range of legal literature of the past, but not with any critical analysis of it. Newer writing is often neglected. Barta himself has interesting ideas, but it is difficult to detect them, hidden as they are amongst the cited literature. This approach is followed in all volumes but is scientifically unacceptable and merits the strongest criticism.

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