Die phänomenologische Rechtslehre und das Natur­recht

Elisabeth Hruschka

Elisabeth Hruschka, Die phänomenologische Rechtslehre und das Natur­recht (Dissertation Universität Freiburg im Üechtland 1966), München: Char­lotte Schön, 1967, 69 pp.

Introduction/Historical Situation and Systematic Context

The University of Freiburg im Üechtland, or Fribourg (Switzerland), has been a place, where Catholicism in its numerous forms has dominated academic education. The fraternity of the Dominicans have monopolised the philosophical faculty for a long period of time, for example. (for details see Urs Altermatt: Die Universität Freiburg auf der Suche nach ihrer Identität – Essays zur Kultur- und Sozialgeschichte der Universität Freiburg im 19. und 20. Jahrundert, Freiburg: Universitätsverlag, 2009). It is not surprising, therefore, that also at the Faculty of Jurisprudence, Economics and Social sciences the Catholic spirit has had great influence on the students, and mainly on the selection of the teachers. Between 1936 and 1970, Wilhelm Oswald was professor of public law, and even the president of the University from 1954 to 1956 (see no. 2.13 of this Legal Anthology). Another well-known docent of the same faculty was Jean Darbellay, who represented legal philosophy, even if he was vested the chair for administrative and constitutional law between 1972 and his retreat in 1982 (see nos. 1.11 and 1.18 of this Legal Anthology). These two members of the Faculty of Law signed as experts and referents for an exemplary dissertation thesis, written in 1967 by Elisabeth Hruschka from Germany, entitled “Phenomenological Legal Thought and Natural Law Theory”.

Content, Abstracts/Conclusions, Insights, Evidence

After having located phenomenological legal philosophy and selected Adolf Reinach, Edith Stein, Gerhart Husserl, Herbert Spiegelberg and Hans Welzel as reference authors, Elisabeth Hruschka identifies a material proximity of the current in case with natural law, especially the rationalist natural law of the Age of Enlightenment. In conjunction with the undercurrent Thomist theory, as established by Aquinas, legal thinkers have formulated the axiomatic concept of a so-called “juridical apriori”. The ideation and idealisation of law and the conception of the essence of law lead directly to an ontological structure of legal conceptualisation. These entities can be held as real and material, or as merely potentially real and material, according to the concept of nature itself. Despite such a foundation in the idea of an absolute, legal concepts tendentially follow the logics of matters and problems. In consequence, reference to natural law turns out to be variable, to be dynamic exceptions from the unalterable absolute, and natural law becomes a strategy to conceptualise relativity as relative. In conclusion the fundamental axiom of former natural law theory has been changed to its contrary, and this due to the influence of phenomenological philosophy, that is widely accepted also, even and particularly within these Catholic milieus.

Further Information About the Author

Elisabeth Hruschka, born on 6 September 1935 in Steinheim (Westfalen, Germany), has concluded her studies in jurisprudence at the Universities of Marburg, München and Freiburg im Üechtland (Switzerland). In 1961 and 1966 she passed the two stages of the German juridical state examinations, before receiving her doctorate at the University of Freiburg in 1967.

For Further Reading

Helmut Coing: Naturrecht als wissenschaftliches Problem, in: Sitzungsberichte der wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, vol. 3 (1964), No. 1, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1965;

Günter Ellscheid: Das Naturrechtsproblem in der neueren Rechtsphilosophie, in: Einführung in Rechtsphilosophie und Rechtstheorie der Gegenwart, ed. Arthur Kaufmann und Winfried Hassemer, Heidelberg/ Karlsruhe: C. F. Müller, 1977, pp. 23 ss.;

Adolf Menzel: Zur Lehre vom Naturrecht, in: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Staatslehre (Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, Philosophisch-historische Klasse, vol. 210, no. 1), pp. 107 ss., Wien/ Leipzig: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, 1929 (reprint Glashütten im Taunus: Detlev Auvermann, 1976);

Johannes Messner: Das Naturrecht – Handbuch der Gesellschaftsethik, Staatsethik und Wirtschaftsethik, Innsbruck/ Wien/ München: Tyrolia-Verlag, 5th ed. 1966;

Erik Wolf: Das Problem der Naturrechtslehre – Versuch einer Orientierung (Freiburger Rechts- und Staatswissenschaftliche Abhandlungen, vol. 2). Karlsruhe: C. F. Müller, 2nd ed. 1959.


You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here: Hruschka Naturrecht.