Professor Jeanne Gaakeer, professor of Jurisprudence: Hermeneutical and Narrative Foundations at Erasmus School of Law, published a monograph Judging from Experience. Law, Praxis, Humanities, with Edinburgh University Press. The book forms part of Law and Literature and/or, more broadly, Law and Humanities, the interdisciplinary movement in legal theory that focuses on the various bonds of law, language, and literature. It presents a view on law as a humanistic discipline that is inspired by the movement’s original, European roots.
Judging from Experience was presented at a book launch held on 1 March. The book demonstrates the importance for academic legal theory and legal, more specifically judicial, the practice of a view on jurisprudence as a form of knowledge of law that is based on insights from philosophical hermeneutics and narratology. In doing so it engages with Anglo-American scholarship in the field. In the 1980s the Anglo-American renaissance of the humanist tradition that became Law and Literature revitalized the two early twentieth-century challenges provoked by John Wigmore and Benjamin Cardozo, i.e. that literary works can provide insight in the life of the law, and that law can be seen as a literary-linguistic practice, but it soon deviated from its original goals to provide food for thought for legal professionals. Judging from Experience, therefore, focuses on the intertwinement of theory and practice to develop a humanities-inspired methodology for both the academic interdisciplinary study of law and literature and for legal practice. The building blocks that it proposes for practice are also indicative of a methodological reflection on interdisciplinary legal studies in general. The idea underlying the book’s argument is that law needs the humanities. Jeanne Gaakeer combines her understanding of legal theory and her experience of judicial practice in a continental-European civil law system as senior justice in the Court of Appeal in The Hague. Thus Judging from Experience is also a reflection of the author’s combined passions of judicial practice and Law and Literature. It draws on many literary works to illuminate its arguments and to offer a specific European perspective on the topics discussed by developing a methodology for the humanistic study of law as praxis that both students of law and professionals alike can benefit from.