oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Some remarks on laesio enormis and proportionality in Roman-Dutch law and calvinistic commercial ethics

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



This contribution contains a continuation of an earlier article dealing with the concepts of iustum pretium and proportionality in Roman law and the . Its findings for Roman-Dutch law, however, appear to be incompatible with the conclusions expounded by James Whitman in an article on the role of Roman law in early modern commerce. Whitman maintained that the traditional Christian rule on fair pricing was no longer upheld by the jurists and clergymen of the Dutch Republic. By appealing to Roman law, the Dutch would have abandoned the longstanding just-price principles and would have considered active fraud by malicious salesmen to be permissible. This would appear from vernacular books on Roman-Dutch law, which, as a consequence, exuded an atmosphere of immorality. Moreover, the new commercial attitude was said to be supported by a number of moral handbooks written by Calvinistic clergymen. However, when reinvestigating the sources quoted from the wider perspective of the civilian tradition, other "Old Authorities" of Roman-Dutch law and the true nature and purpose of the Further Reformation, there is no choice other than to query Whitman's findings.

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