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The contribution of Kharkiv University scientists to the development of historical and legal science (first half of the XIX century)

Journal: History of science and technology (Vol.10, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 293-303

Keywords : Ukraine; Law; Old Rus law; Kyiv Rus; the Rus’ka Pravda;

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In the article, the author, based on the methodological principles of historicism, objectivity, systematics, explored the specific achievements of Kharkiv University scientists, who worked in the first half of the XIX century, in the formation and development of science History of State and Law. Their scientific works, in accordance with the main trend in the genesis of this science at that time, were centered around the law of Kyiv Rus and, in particular, the content of the Rus'ka Pravda (Russian Truth). This area of their activity is studied insufficiently in the scientific literature, both domestic and foreign. This is due to the fact that the main contribution to the development of these issues was made in the second half of the XIX century – then a significant number of works on this topic was published, which provided an opportunity for their systematic analysis. The activity of scientists of this university in the first half of the XIX century concerns the period of formation of historical and legal science. Hence the main shortcomings of their work: a certain fragmentation in the coverage of problems, a narrow historiographical base, the hypothetical nature of some theses. Professor Uspenskyi was the first who started working on the history of law at Kharkiv University and considered the question of “the antiquity of Russian laws and their dignity”. At that time, scholars of many universities in the empire had to prove the authenticity of the Rus'ka Pravda and those laws that was not yet generally accepted. O. Kunitsyn, a professor of Kharkiv University, also expressed some doubts in this, although he cannot be attributed entirely to the supporters of the “skeptical school” in Russian historiography. O. Paliumbetskyi made the most significant contribution to the development of historical and legal science at that time at Kharkiv University. He conducted one of the first comparative studies of Old German and Old Rus law, convincingly showed their differences, some influence of German law on Russian, which he considered insignificant. Quite thorough and one of the best was his study of treaties between Rus and Byzantium in the X century. Based on the provisions of these agreements, the scientist made a successful attempt to determine the essence of some of Old Rus laws, in particular on revenge, compensation to the victim and court evidence. Most of his arguments were tested over time and are not disputed by modern scientists. Scientists-lawyers of Kharkiv University in that period did not form a separate scientific school, as happened at the University of Kyiv due to the activities of M. Ivanishev, but they worked in line with the then prevailing paradigms in Russian historiography, and made a certain contribution to the formation of historical and legal science. Therefore, their scientific activity deserves further study.

Last modified: 2020-12-13 16:34:54