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Christian Meurer

Scholar of the month: Christian Meurer

 * 20.01.1856 in Camberg      † 06.03.1935 in Würzburg

1876    Study of Theology in Bonn
             Quit studying
             later: studying Philosophy in Freiburg
1880    Philological state exam and conferral of a doctorate
             Study of law
1882    Conferral of a doctorate and second state exam
1885    Postdoctoral lecture qualification (Habilitation) in Breslau and employment as a private-lecturer
1888    Professorship for catholic church law in Würzburg
1926    Retirement from academic duties

The University-Archives of Würzburg continue their 'Scholar of the month' - Series in December 2017 with the law-professor Christian Meurer. The talented expert on church law and international law had a huge impact on the development of the humanitarian martial law and was an enrichment to the Julius-Maximilians-University, as he was a strong advocate for peace.

Wide field of interests

One could assume that it was because of his wide field of interests, that Christian Meurer had to experience other disciplines first – especially Theology and Philology – before he found his academic home in the juristic. Nevertheless, did Theology as well as Philology continue to influence him in his actions: His juristically practice started with his first specification, church law, and brought him to his second specification: International law, where he made use of his philosophical knowledge. In addition, his former occupation as a lecturer in Freiburg, Tauberbischofsheim and later Silesia have probably also influenced Meurer in his interests in practical aspects of his work.

International lawyer in the name of peace

Today, Meurer is hardly known for his works on church law. This is mainly the case, because of the historical events after World War I: The majority of his creations for Bavarian church law of the state have lost their relevance with the abolishment of the monarchy in Germany, and was not published anymore. His works for international law, however, gained a lot of attention, as they were more forward-looking at this time, especially his editing of the protocols of the Hague Convention of 1899. Important key aspects of it were the universal martial law, but also the prevention of war through the creation of peaceful methods to find solutions in international disputes. A notable by-product of his creations was the first-ever fundamental scientific paper to the sovereignty over the airspace.

Honours and administrational positions

The tasks of Christian Meurer were not limited to teaching and researching only. Multiple times, he conducted practical administrational functions: While being in Würzburg, he was elected twice as the president of the University, multiple times as the dean of the faculty and was Senator of the University. Moreover did he represent the Alma Julia in the lower Franconian district administration between 1907 and 1918. His honours and administrational positions weren’t useless additions to Meurer, but part of his conducted legal ethics: For example did he resign from the Institut de droit international in 1920 after they convened an extraordinary conference without German and Austrian members, just after passing a declaration that adhered the exclusive war guilt to Germany.

Recommended Reading:

Meurer, Christian: Selbstdarstellung, in: Die Rechtswissenschaft der Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellungen, Leipzig 1929.