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Reinhold Zippelius
German jurist

Reinhold Zippelius

Reinhold Zippelius
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German jurist
Is Jurist Educator
From Germany
Field Academia Law
Gender male
Birth 19 May 1928, Ansbach
Age 94 years
Star sign Taurus
The details (from wikipedia)


Reinhold Zippelius (born 19 May 1928) is a German jurist and law scholar. Now retired, he was formerly the professor of the Philosophy of law and Public law at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Life and career

Reinhold Walter Zippelius was born in Ansbach (west of Nuremberg), the son of Hans Zippelius and Marie (Stoessel) Zippelius. He embarked on his study of jurisprudence in 1947 at Würzburg and then at Erlangen. In 1949 he switched to the newly re-opened Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich where between 1949 and 1961 he was supported by a scholarship-bursary. He received his doctorate in 1953. His habilitation (higher academic qualification), also from Munich, and supervised by Karl Engisch (de), would follow in 1961.

After passing his public law exams, between 1956 and 1963 Zippelius worked in government service in Bavaria, in the end promoted to the level of Oberregierungsrat (senior government legal advisor) at the Interior Ministry. His habilitation in 1961 opened the way for an academic career, and in 1963 he accepted a teaching chair at Erlangen that covered a range of law related disciplines including Philosophy of law, Public law, Administrative/Civil Law and Church law. Despite attempts by Munich and other university level institutions outside Bavaria to lure him away, he now remained at Erlangen for more than thirty years. Reinhold Zippelius retired from his professorship at Erlangen in 1995.

Zippelius is a full member of the Mainz based Academy of Sciences and Literature ("Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur"). In 2002 The Faculty of Scientific Theory and History at Athens University awarded him an honorary doctorate ("doctor honoris causa").


His academic research is centred on constitutional law, theory of the state, along with legal philosophy and method.

The concept of "critical rationalism" provides context for Zippelius' beliefs, and he has engaged in personal exchanges of idea with Karl Popper, who originated the concept. Zippelius extends the application of Popper's method to embrace the law. He contends that many of the advances in law and jurisprudence take place through the practical operation of "critical rationalism". He writes of "the search for the concept of law which, in terms of its relationship to the broader reality and jurisprudence, proceeds empirically to identify, evaluate and improve the solutions to problems.

For Zippelius a legal code or equivalent structure is not a body of "abstract" norms derived in a one-way process from life, but "law in action", distilled and validated through human action, and thereby transformed into the evolving contemporary reality of each culture.

In terms of legal theory, the core processes operate outside the framework of laws and jurisprudence, to form a structure of legal concepts based on key concepts, comparisons of cases and the question of what counts as "right", especially as regards the validity of unfair laws.

In terms of theory of the state, his themes include the legitimisation and cultivation of democracy, especially as regards the rule of law, and beyond that the oligarchic components of pluralistic democracy, federalism (limitations of authority, the functioning and democratic ambiguity of federalism) and the problems of the bureaucracy.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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