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Back to 2020-03-20-Opinión-DERCA-Javier Hervada
Jorge Miras, Ordinary of Administrative Law canonical
Javier Hervada Xiberta, former dean of Law at the UN
degree program Professor Javier Hervada Xiberta, undoubtedly one of the most important canonists of the 20th century, who spent most of his academic career at the University of Navarra, to whose project he was linked, in one way or another, since 1957, has died in Pamplona.
In that year, on 28 September, he travelled to Pamplona for the first time to meet Professor Pedro Lombardía, of whom he was first a disciple and, very soon, a companion and close friend partner in what he would describe many years later as "an intellectual and scientific adventure": that of the methodological renewal of Canon Law, which has result extraordinarily transcendental.
From this partnership comes what, among canonists all over the world, is usually known as the "School of Navarre", although Professor Hervada always referred to it as the "School of Pedro Lombardy", because he was well aware that, as a foundational feature, the professors of the University of Navarre do not form a "School", nor do those of the School of Canon Law, but that each one freely follows his own scientific convictions, which are diverse. However, among the canonists trained in Navarre and elsewhere, there are many who recognise themselves as disciples of Lombardy. And these have always recognised Hervada's position as a teacher in his "School", because it is very difficult to conceive the contributions of the one without those of the other.
Javier Hervada was born in Barcelona on 7 February 1934. He obtained the licentiate degree in Law at the University of Barcelona (1951-1956) and the Degree of Doctor in Law in 1958, at the Central University of Madrid (today Complutense University). After completing the relevant programs of study at the School de Canon Law of the University of Navarra, he also obtained the licentiate degree and, in 1962, the doctorate at Canon Law.
In 1964 he won the Chair de Canon Law at the University of Zaragoza, where he was previously School of Law attachment, status , which he made compatible with his dedication as professor in charge of Canon Law in the Schools of Law and Canon Law of the University of Navarra.
From 1965 he was Full Professor of Canon Law at the University of Navarre; and from 1981 Ordinary of Natural Law and Philosophy of Law, subject of which he had begun to be in charge at School of Law in 1973. Between 1985 and 1990, he was successively professore stabile of both disciplines at the Ateneo Romano (now University) della Santa Croce, in Rome. Among the academic governmental functions he held at various times were those of Dean of the School of Law at the University of Navarre, between 1973 and 1984, and Associate Dean of Canon Law, from 1991 to 1993.
He promoted and directed influential scientific journals ("Ius Canonicum", "Persona y Derecho", with its supplements "Fidelium Iura" and "Humana Iura"), as well as the widespread series of monographs "Colección canónica"; and centres of research, such as the "high school Martín de Azpilcueta" or the "high school de Derechos Humanos".
In 1998, the Spanish Ministry of Justice awarded him the Cross of Honour of the Order of San Raimundo de Peñafort. In 1999, John Paul II named him Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great. On 26 November 2002 he received the doctorate honoris causa at the School de Canon Law of the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce.
His scientific output is extensive. It includes, if I am not misreading the data, twenty-six books, some of them with numerous editions and translations, and a hundred articles in specialised journals. In mid-2019, his complete works were made available online at the University of Navarra's digital archive (DADUN). In November there were already almost 8,000 downloads of its various elements.
Moreover, he directed 66 doctoral thesis and, during his lifetime, several doctoral thesis have been conducted on his thought. He was what in academic life is properly called a master, because of the transcendence of his thought and the abundant fruits of his work professor and his generous dedication to the promotion of research and the training of researchers.
Those of us who have benefited from his teaching will especially miss his sincere friendship, which always appeared unexpectedly in the midst of his rather shy and reserved nature, the intuitive assurance of his extraordinary intelligence and the simple and coherent witness of his Christian spirit. Thank you, maestro, and rest in peace!