Paul Johann Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach

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Paul Johann Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach (November 14, 1775May 29, 1833) was German legal scholar.

He was born at Jena, where he studied philosophy and law. At 23 he came into prominence by a vigorous criticism of Hobbes's theory on civil power. Soon afterwards, in lectures on criminal jurisprudence he set forth his famous theory, that in administering justice judges should be strictly limited in their decisions by the penal code. This new doctrine gave rise to a party called Rigorists, who supported his theory. Von Feuerbach was the originator of the famous maxim nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali: "No crime committed, and no punishment meted out, without a violation of penal law as it existed at the time."

He held professorships in Jena and in Kiel, and in 1804 was appointed to an official post in Munich. In 1814 he became president of the Court of Appeal at Anspach. His chief work was the framing of a penal code for Bavaria, which became a model for several other countries.

He was the father of the philosopher Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach and of the mathematician Karl Wilhelm Feuerbach.

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