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Crime and Punishment: Critical Survey of the Origins and Evolution of the Common Law

Thurbin, Daye B.

ISBN 10: 0953435105 / ISBN 13: 9780953435104
Published by Idle Press, 1998
Condition: Collectible: Very Good Hardcover
From books4u31 (Asheville, NC, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Crime and Punishment: Critical Survey of the...

Publisher: Idle Press

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Collectible: Very Good

Signed: Signed

About this title


This book examines the way in which the concepts of Crime and Punishment have evolved through the ages. It looks at the way society has viewed what constitutes criminality and the various means deployed to suppress it. Although it touches on some of the more dramatic examples from Biblical times through the Middle Ages, it focuses primarily on the period from the Age of Enlightenment in Europe to the present day Western world.

It looks at the ways that the identification of what constitutes a crime has changed over time as well as what is seen as appropriate punishment. It also looks behind the Rule of Law to the underlying socio-economic conditions which mould and direct the law. It examines how the prevailing conditions within society may cause a behaviour considered criminal at one point in time to be acceptable at another and vice versa. For example, The Code of Hammu-rabi decreed death for the fraudulent sale of beer; in Medieval Europe, a person accused of heresy would undergo the ordeal of walking on hot coals as a test of faith; suspected witches were burned at the stake in England and the Star Chamber was renowned for the horror of the tortures carried out in its rooms. The common law tradition evolved from those origins and they form the basis upon which the English legal system is built.

As society changed, The laws which determined what behaviours constituted criminal conduct also changed. Likewise, as more insight was gained into the link between criminal behaviour and other life-style factors, the attitudes toward criminality and the approach to punishment also changed. But in order to fully understand the current state of the criminal law in this country, one needs to understand how it developed in the way it did.

By the use of case studies, the evolution of legal doctrine is examined and analyzed. This book challenges the Orthodox view of the development of the law from its inception in the Period of the Enlightenment in the early Nineteenth century to the present and reveals contradictions inherent in the law. It attempts to show how the Law, in focusing on the abstract individual and decontextualizing his actions from the society in which he lives in the real world, fails to address the underlying social causes of crime.

This analysis provides the reader with an opportunity to look at the way Crime and Punishment have emerged historically and as it is popularly depicted today and question for him or herself the benefits as well the short-comings.

From the Publisher:

In one relatively slim volume, the reader is taken on a chronological journey through the development of the common law. Beginning with the Code of Hammu-rabi, Crime and Punishment progresses through ancient Greeceand Rome to the Middle Ages and the Age of Enlightenment, ultimately culminating in contemporary legal philosophy. This very readable book balances an overview of the historical backdrop against which the law has evolved with a critical appraisal of the development of legal precedent in the criminal law. It is an invaluable tool for anyone pursuing the study of law or criminal justice.

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