Otto Friedrich von Gierke, born Otto Friedrich Gierke (11 January 1841 – 10 October 1921) was a German legal scholar and historian. He is considered today as one of the most influential and important legal scholars of the 19th and 20th century. In his four-volume magnum opus entitled ''Das deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht'' (''German Law of Associations''), he pioneered the study of social groups and the importance of associations in German life, which stood between the divide of private and public law. During his career at Berlin University's law department, Gierke was a leading critic of the newly drafted German Civil Code, arguing that it had been moulded in an individualistic frame that was inconsistent with German social traditions. He helped to advance the concept of social law, over the classical division of public law and private law.
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