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The comparative study of Chinese and European legal history is arguably as old as the social sciences themselves. Comparisons between the "Chinese legal tradition" and European ones lie, after all, at the heart of Max Weber's seminal studies on economy and society-hardly surprising, given Weber's extensive legal background.' In recent decades, comparative Chinese and European legal history, broadly defined, has thrived in both Chinese academic circles and foreign ones, across a number of disciplines, including history, law, economics, and sociology.

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