Mårten Björk: "Law as Command or Instruction?: Hans Barion and Gustav Radbruch on the Nature and End of Law."

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: 6-3025 (Rausing Room)
  • Organiser: Department of History of Science and Ideas
  • Contact person: Julia Nordblad
  • Seminarium

Higher Seminar in the History of Science and Ideas

Mårten Björk, Lund University and Torbjörn Gustafsson Chorell, Uppsala University, present the research program “At the End of the World: A Transdisciplinary Approach to the Apocalyptic Imaginary in the Past and Present” (directed by Jayne Svenungsson, Lund University)

For more info, visit: https://portal.research.lu.se/en/projects/at-the-end-of-the-world-a-transdisciplinary-approach-to-the-apoca


Authority, power, and sovereignty: the end of state, church, and law. These themes the theologian and canon lawyer Hans Barion, a close friend and collaborator with Carl Schmitt, addressed in a canonical assessment of the relation between the Catholic church and the Third Reich in June 1933. Barion had joined NSDAP with Schmitt and insisted that that the church was not a worldly institution. It sought to live beyond, but not in conflict with, the secular sphere with its worldly laws. The church should never command society, it should instruct its followers to live beyond the imperatives of the world. Although he was a Catholic, Barion was shaped by the Protestant legal scholar Rudolph Sohm, who in his seminal Kirchenrecht insisted that the early church had no legal structure. It was a charismatic organization centered around the notion of grace, charis, that lived outside but not against the commands of worldly law. This idea shaped Max Weber’s work profoundly and one of Sohm’s students, the social-democrat legal scholar and Weimar Minister of Justice, Gustav Radbruch, developed these ideas in his Rechtsphilosophie but for completely different reasons than Barion. The antipolitical impetus of the church was for the socialist Radbruch an antitotalitarian potential. By returning to these debates, I will discuss the difference between ideas of law as command and instruction and show how legal and theological discussions on the end and nature of law are profoundly intertwined with and points to a need for a critique of the philosophical foundations of modern law. 

The seminar will be held in English