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By showing how Kelsen's theory of law works alongside his political philosophy, the book shows the Pure Theory to be part of a wider attempt to understand how political power can be legitimately exercised in pluralist societies.
Positivist legal theorists inspired by Kelsen's work failed to appreciate the political-theoretical potential of the Pure Theory of Law and thus turned to a narrow agnosticism about the functions of law. The Pure Theory of Law, I conclude, may offer a paradigm of jurisprudential thought that could reconnect jurisprudence with political theory as it was traditionally understood: namely as a reflection on the best constitution and on the contribution that different legal actors and institutions can make to its realization.
Die von Hans Kelsen im Jahre 1934 vorgelegte "Reine Rechtslehre" gehört zu den rechtstheoretischen Schlüsselschriften des 20. Jahrhunderts. In ihr entwickelt Kelsen erstmals systematisch seine einerseits das Recht von der Moral, andererseits die Norm vom Faktum konsequent scheidende, ideologiekritische Rechtstheorie. Wer auf der Höhe der Zeit über Struktur und Geltung von Recht und die Eigenart von Rechtswissenschaft, kurz: wer über das Rechtliche am Recht nachdenken will, kommt an der "Reine[n] Rechtslehre" nicht vorbei. Die Erstauflage der "Reine[n] Rechtslehre", die weltweit in rund ein Dutzend Sprachen übersetzt worden ist, wurde in deutscher Sprache mehrfach nachgedruckt, ist indes derzeit vergriffen. Sie wird hier in Gestalt einer Studienausgabe vorgelegt, die am Recht Interessierte zum Hineinlesen ermutigen und zum kritischen Nach- und Weiterdenken einladen möchte.
Kelsen, Hans. Pure Theory of Law. Translation from the Second German Edition by Max Knight. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. x, 356 pp. Reprinted 2005 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 1-58477-578-5. Paperbound. $36.95 * Second revised and enlarged edition, a complete revision of the first edition published in 1934. A landmark in the development of modern jurisprudence, the pure theory of law defines law as a system of coercive norms created by the state that rests on the validity of a generally accepted Grundnorm, or basic norm, such as the supremacy of the Constitution. Entirely self-supporting, it rejects any concept derived from metaphysics, politics, ethics, sociology, or the natural sciences. Beginning with the medieval reception of Roman law, traditional jurisprudence has maintained a dual system of "subjective" law (the rights of a person) and "objective" law (the system of norms). Throughout history this dualism has been a useful tool for putting the law in the service of politics, especially by rulers or dominant political parties. The pure theory of law destroys this dualism by replacing it with a unitary system of objective positive law that is insulated from political manipulation. Possibly the most influential jurisprudent of the twentieth century, Hans Kelsen [1881-1973] was legal adviser to Austria's last emperor and its first republican government, the founder and permanent advisor of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Austria, and the author of Austria's Constitution, which was enacted in 1920, abolished during the Anschluss, and restored in 1945. The author of more than forty books on law and legal philosophy, he is best known for this work and General Theory of Law and State. Also active as a teacher in Europe and the United States, he was Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Vienna and taught at the universities of Cologne and Prague, the Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Harvard, Wellesley, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Naval War College.Also available in cloth.
Hans Kelsen erörtert In seinem kleinen, aber gewichtigen Aufsatz von 1953 die Frage nach Gerechtigkeit als Problem der Lösung von Interessen- und Wertkonflikten und als Problem der Rechtfertigung menschlichen Verhaltens: Absolute Gerechtigkeit, so Kelsen, kann es nicht geben, relative Gerechtigkeit aber führt immerhin zu Toleranz. Angesichts der Herausforderungen durch die Flüchtlingsströme der Gegenwart gewinnt diese Fragestellung über ihre grundsätzliche Bedeutung hinaus besondere Aktualität und Brisanz.
Historically, revolution has been one of the principal means of founding a new state. But can this new state have any moral legitimacy, born as it is out of violence? That is the critical question for legal theorists. The late Hans Kelsen, arguably one of the leading legal theorists and philosophers of the twentieth century, in his Pure Theory of Law, articulated this theory of revolutionary legality as a part of his general theory of law. Kelsen in the Grenada Court: Essays on Revolutionary Legality examines revolutionary legality in the context of the Grenada coup d'�tat of March 1979, which brought the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) to power. The 1973 Constitution was suspended, the executive authority of the country changed, parliament was reconstituted and a new Supreme Court established. The governing principles of political life in Grenada were transformed. The PRG had established a new legality. The courts however, were confronted with questions of their validity and jurisdictional competence. Called upon to judge the validity of the PRG regime, the issue of the validity of the courts was also called into question. Following the demise of the PRG regime in sensational fashion, culminating in the invasion of Grenada by the US army in 1983, the validity of the court was again challenged. This collection of clear, readily understood essays, shows that the Court determined its own validity as a matter of necessity. Using examples from around the Commonwealth, the case of Bernard Coard & Ors. v. The Attorney General, known popularly as the Maurice Bishop murder trial, or the Grenada Thirteen, McIntosh criticizes the Grenada Court and its handling of the subject of revolutionary legality; while addressing Kelsen's theory of continuity and discontinuity of law and the doctrine of necessity.

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