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Ferdinand Walter

Jurist, b. at Wetzlar, Nov. 30, 1794; d. at Bonn, Dec. 13, 1879

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Walter, FERDINAND, jurist, b. at Wetzlar, November 30, 1794; d. at Bonn, December 13, 1879. After studying at the Latin school of Muhlheim on the Rhine (1805-9), and later at Cologne (1809-13), he fought against Napoleon in 1814, as a volunteer in a Russian regiment. In autumn, 1814, he began to study jurisprudence at Heidelberg, where he graduated, November 22, 1817. He remained at Heidelberg as privatdozent until Easter, 1819, when he was called to the newly-founded University of Bonn. He taught various juristic branches there till 1875, when he resigned on account of blindness. Though a layman, Walter was a strenuous champion of the rights of the Church against civil encroachment. He was a member of the Prussian National Assembly in 1848 and of the First Chamber of Deputies in 1849. In a special pamphlet (1848) he opposed the incorporation into the criminal code of an article allowing the State to deprive the clergy of ecclesiastical rights, and on October 4, 1849, he delivered a famous oration in defense of ecclesiastical independence in the management of church affairs. But Walter’s greatest achievements are in the field of juristic literature. All his literary productions are remarkable for thoroughness as well as literary finish and some of them have become classics in their sphere. His most famous work is his “Lehrbuch des Kirchenrechts” (Bonn, 1822). The eighth edition was translated into French and Spanish, the ninth into Italian. A fourteenth edition was prepared by Canon Gerlach, one of Walter’s disciples (Bonn, 1871). The sources of canon law, which were added as an appendix to the sixth edition of the “Kirchenrecht”, he materially enlarged and published separately as “Fontes juris ecclesiastici antiqui et hodierni” (Bonn, 1862). His other important works are: “Corpus juris Germanici antiqui” (3 vols., Bonn, 1824); “Romische Rechtsgeschichte” (Bonn, 1836); “Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte” (Bonn, 1853); “System des deutschen Privatrechts” (Bonn, 1855); “Das alte Wales“, (Bonn, 1859), on the history, laws, and religion of ancient Wales; “Juristische Encyclopadie” (Bonn, 1856); “Naturrecht and Politik (Bonn, 1863); “Aus meinem Leben” (Bonn, 1865), an autobiography; “Das alte Erz stift and die Reichsstadt Koln” (Bonn, 1866), a civil history of the former electorate of Cologne, left unfinished.

MICHAEL OTT


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