The best book you read as school reading/Das beste Buch, das du während der Schulzeit als Lektüre gelesen hast

This is going back a long way. I think Horace’s poems were quite good.
Digressing a bit: we had four books each for French and German A Level, and the French choice (it depended on what board you did A Levels for) was greatly superior: Beaumarchais, Mariage de Figaro; Gide, La Porte Étroite; Mauriac, Le noeud de vipères; hm, can’t remember what else. German: Goethe, Götz von Berlichingen; Schiller, Wilhelm Tell (those are the least interesting Goethe and Schiller plays I can think of); Bergengruen, can’t remember which Novelle – maybe it was Die Feuerprobe; can’t remember the fourth. I know the first book I ever succeeded in reading in German, after O Levels, when we were allowed to choose a book from a mixed box, was Ricarda Huch, Der letzte Sommer, which was ideal for a first read in what seemed a difficult language at the time.

18 thoughts on “The best book you read as school reading/Das beste Buch, das du während der Schulzeit als Lektüre gelesen hast

    • I must admit I hadn’t looked at it (I have now). I think the main point made there is the conventional one in German law, that what the doctor did was ‘socially adequate’ and the parents’ consent was valid.
      However, I will translate it in the next couple of days when and if I find time – it isn’t very long.

    • Excellent, thanks very much. I will have a good look at that later. It looks good. It’s always interesting to compare one’s own translation with another.
      “Docket no.” is very American!
      This translation contains notes, quotes from the statutes and all the references to the literature which I omitted because I did a rush translation on one evening.
      K1 and “legis artis” are not familiar to me in English. Should K1 not at least be explained?
      I decided to translate Erziehung as upbringing rather than education.

      • Thanks! Indeed, there are always different ways of doing things.

        I assume K1 means Kind 1, because the mother – not the child in the first place – was admitted to hospital with two children, as I was told by the press spokesperson of the LG K

        • Yes, I understand the Latin, I have just never seen it in an English text. Is it an attempt to render Kunstfehler? The German says Behandlungsfehler – I suppose I would think of medical malpractice.
          Thanks for the other translation, as I do not have time – the earlier commenter wanted to see it.

  1. There are also UK lawyers who believe circumcision on a baby (boy) is an offence against the person and/or battery in tort and crime. UCL’s criminal law dept. had that theory on the boil years ago.

  2. Everyone seems to be thunderstruck by the Urteil of the Cologne Regional Court, however a number of law reviews have pointed out the criminal nature of child circumcision.

    http://www.cirp.org/library/legal/brigman/

    http://www.cirp.org/library/legal/vanhowe5/

    http://www.cirp.org/library/legal/edge1/

    http://www.cirp.org/library/legal/boyle1/

    Non-therapeutic circumcision of male children already is unlawful in South Africa by the Children’s Act.

    • Well, I don’t dispute that it is against the child’s rights, at least in my view, when weighed against the parents’ interests. But whether it is criminal depends on the law of the country. It isn’t criminal in Germany except by this Cologne court’s decision and there’s going to be quite a discussion about changing the law. And even if, as the government intends, the law is changed to permit circumcision specifically by statute (at present it’s permitted by common law in Germany), the statute will be taken to the constitutional court. The Cologne decision is now non-appealable as the time for objections has passed.
      In South Africa, children can still be circumcised if there is a valid religious reason, and surely that is the political problem? Some Jewish body in Germany has been comparing the criminalization of circumcision to events in the Third Reich. (They would, wouldn’t they?) I certainly couldn’t believe there is no Jewish (or Muslim) lobby in South Africa!
      For those of us not directly involved, the public legal discussion is going to be interesting.
      See also the previous comment about UK lawyers. No doubt about what many lawyers think. I presume Frau Merkel has enough on her plate and is leaving the decision to the constitutional court and possibly the European Court of Human Rights.

  3. Non-therapeutic circumcision of children only becomes criminal because neither the parent nor the child is empowered to give consent. In the absence of valid consent, circumcision becomes criminal assault or in some jurisdictions, medical battery.

  4. Dear Margaret, I am sure you are familiar with verfassungsblog.de, where all three bloggers have harshly condemned the Cologne court’s decision. For example, [url=http://verfassungsblog.de/religion-vor-recht-recht-vor-religion/]Georg Neureither[/url], who teaches law of church and state.

    I view the verdict as a textbook case of judicial activism (“legislation from the bench”). What was the judge thinking? The following passage sheds some light, I think: “Moreover, the child’s body is permanently and irreparably altered by the circumcision. This alteration runs counter to the child’s interest in being able to decide on his own, at a later time, on his religious affiliation.” (my own translation; haven’t checked yours ;) )

    This stems from the perennial secularist belief that you can keep children away from religion until they are 18 and then they can freely choose as from a cafeteria menu. This is wrong: after an atheist upbringing, they will have been shaped and molded in a particular direction just as children raised in a faith are shaped and molded. It’s a fallacy of militant secularists that it is fine to allow atheists to mold their children but not to afford religious parents the same privilege. In any case, no religion that I am aware of refuses circumcised converts, so the point fals flat. The solicitousness with which the judge is looking out for the child’s interest in being able to change (or abandon) his religion later in life may strike you as touching or smarmy, depending on your point of view, but I find the reasoning deficient.

    German philosopher Robert Spaemann castigated the radical secularism underlying this perspective in an [url=http://www.zeit.de/2012/28/Beschneidung]essay for ZEIT[/url] two weeks ago. I agree with Spaemann that the dream of keeping all options open for your children by raising them in an areligious bubble is a mirage.

    Yesterday majorities of the lawmakers in four of the five parties represented in Germany’s Bundestag adopted a resolution calling for the government to draft a law making circumcision of male children explicitly legal. Remarkably they did not restrict themselves to Jewish and Muslim families. This means that parents who choose circumcision for their male infants for prophylactic medical reasons, as most Americans do (currently 70 percent of newborns in the U.S. are circumcised) will have the option to do so.

    And that’s as it should be, as long as it is not made mandatory, What has been stunning to see is the onslaught from people on Internet comment boards vehemently denouncing circumcision of male children. Some of them write out of genuine concern for the welfare of children, but most are just vile — militant atheists, haters who have latched onto this as the cause [i]du jour[/i], and the gravely deranged.

  5. I notice that someone has written a description of the main points made by the Cologne court and placed them in bullets on Wikipedia at:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision_and_law#Germany

    One wonders why so many are opposed to the child deciding when he is of age.

    The court has built a protective fence around children. It seems to me that the only people who find this offensive are the people who want to do children harm.

    • Thanks. It’s interesting that there were earlier cases like this too.
      I had been wondering why the public prosecutor’s department appealed against the lower court’s acquittal, but it appears, from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, that the boy was in hospital for ten days and had quite serious problems. So that explains both the appeal and the decision to some extent.

  6. Dear Margaret, you were “born within the sound of Bow Bells” and trained as a lawyer in the UK. I don’t know how much actual experience you got there trying cases yourself. In any case, how would you rate the professionalism of German judges as compared to their English counterparts? The Germans are justly proud of their legal traditions, going back at least to Savigny; Oliver Wendell Holmes jr. took him as his role model. The German Civil Code stands as a monumental achievement to this day.

    But when you look at how the sausages are made, disillusionment sets in. It starts with mundane matters such as record-keeping. In the U.S. (don’t know about the UK) there will be a court reporter taking down verbatim what witnesses and lawyers say, but also the judge’s instructions. The certainty of this permanent record keeps judges on their toes; no-one wants their work to be overturned on appeal based on what they said or did not say.

    While Germany has very able stenographers transcribing every word in the Bundestag and in the parliaments of the [i]Laender[/i], no such facility exists in the court system. A clerk is always present, but she or he is not charged with the recording of verbatim dialogue.

    If we look at the verdict in the case under discussion, one is struck at how perfunctory the exposition of facts is and how little effort is made to develop a stringent rationale for the verdict. It’s all of nine pages long, and much of it taken up by references and white space. German law blogger [url=http://blog.delegibus.com/2012/07/01/die-idee-mit-dem-beschneidungsverbot/]Oliver Garcia[/url] noted, in a follow-up comment to his blog post:

    [quote]”Zum einen ist die Entscheidung, gemessen an der Bedeutung der Angelegenheit (die dem Gericht ja erkl

    • Hi Eugene,
      I don’t think there’s a short answer to this!

      I think you have failed to appreciate the trivial nature of this weblog :)

      Seriously, I don’t want to start a discussion here. Even just looking at the existing discussions on blogs, I can hardly bring myself to read through the arguments.

  7. I suspect the (barbaric) female equivalent is taboo and that’s why no parallels are being drawn with female circumcision a.k.a. female genital mutilation as practised in African/Horn of Africa and Arab countries. But it’s already outlawed in the UK http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/d_to_g/female_genital_mutilation/

    BTW, Eugene, re: ‘the standard of the burden of proof’: the standard of proof, namely beyond reasonable doubt in a crim. case or on the balance of the probabilities in a civ. case is one thing (the late Lord Denning: ‘fraud is a twilight zone and halfway house’). The burden *or* onus of proof: is on the plaintiff/ claimant or defendant in either a civ. or crim. case is another thing. But don’t worry because even qualified UK lawyers and law lecturers conflate all two or three labels.

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