Prof. Dr. Ernst Rabel
Ernst Rabel was Professor of Law at the Universities of Leipzig, Basel, Kiel, Göttingen, Munich and Berlin until in 1937 the political situation forced him to emigrate to the United States. There, he became professor at the Law Schools of Ann Arbor and Harvard. Rabel's academic interest covered a wide range of fields, including Roman law, modern civil law, conflict of laws and comparative law, and the lasting importance of his work continues to be acknowledged. As the first Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm (now: Max Planck) Institute for Foreign and International Private Law in Berlin (1926), Rabel had a decisive influence on the development of a modern, systematic comparative law focusing on issues of legal policy. He was also among the first to recognise the significance of comparative law as groundwork for law unification projects. His treatise Law of the Sale of Goods (first published 1936) created a model for later endeavours in this field. The Conflict of Laws: A Comparative Study (1945) has become a standard work, and the Journal for Foreign and International Private Law (RabelsZ), which Rabel founded in 1927, is one of the most respected publications in this area.
All modern efforts to unify private law, especially as regards sale of goods, are greatly indebted to Rabel, who served as a member of the Institute for the Unification of Private Law in Rome from 1927. His influence on the codifications concerning international sales of goods is still very much in evidence today.
Ernst Rabel, Gesammelte Aufsätze [Collected Papers], ed. by H.G. Leser (4 vols.): Tübingen 1965-67; Ernst Rabel, Grundzüge des römischen Privatrechts [Outline of Roman Private Law], 2nd edition, Tübingen 1955; Ernst Rabel, Das Recht des Warenkaufs [The Law of the Sale of Goods], (2 vols.): Berlin 1958; Ernst Rabel, The conflict of Law. A comparative Study, 2nd edition, 1958.
G. Husserl, Ernst Rabel - Versuch einer Würdigung, JZ 1956, 385 - 392; 430 - 434; H.G. Leser, Einleitung des Herausgebers, in: Ernst Rabel, Gesammelte Aufsätze [Collected Papers] vol. 1, Tübingen 1965, XI-XXXIX; H.G. Leser, Ein Beitrag Ernst Rabels zur Privatrechtstheorie: "Die Wohltätige Gewohnheit, den Rechtsfall vor der Regel zu bedenken", in: Festschrift für Ernst von Caemmerer, Tübingen: Mohr (1978), 891-906; M. Rheinstein, In Memory of Ernst Rabel, 5 Am. J. Comp. L. (1956), 185-196; H. E. Yntema, In memoriam Ernst Rabel, 5 Am. J. Comp. L. (1956), 173-174.
Prof. Dr. Ernst Rabel