Jurisprudence in its limited sense means elucidation of the general principles upon which actual rules of law are based. Jurisprudence is a name given to a certain type of investigation of an abstract, general and theoretical nature which seeks to lay bare the essential principles of law and legal system. Therefore, etymologically jurisprudence is the science which imparts knowledge about law.

The word Jurisprudence has been derived from the Latin word “jurisprudentia” meaning skill or knowledge.  Thus, jurisprudence literally means “the knowledge of law”. In this sense it covers the whole body of legal principles in the world. The history of the concept of law reveals that jurisprudence has assumed different meanings at different times. The variation is due to different methods of inquiry and approach to the study of the subject.

In the 19th century with the theories propounded by Bentham and his disciple Austin, the term jurisprudence acquired a definite meaning. Bentham differentiated between study of law as `it is` and `as it ought to be` and called them `expositorial` and `censorial` jurisprudence respectively.

Jurisprudence discloses knowledge of general ideas and principles of all legal systems, so it is called “eye of the law”. Jurisprudence teaches the proper use of legal terms, and is called “grammar of law”. Every jurist has his own notion of the subject matter and the proper limit and scope of jurisprudence depends upon his ideology and the nature of society.

The scope of jurisprudence comprises philosophy of law and its object is not to discover new rule but to reflect on the rules already known. Scope of jurisprudence also requires a look into the contents of the subject. Sources, legal concepts and legal theory are said to be the main premises of the study of jurisprudence. Broadly speaking jurisprudence includes all concepts of human order and human conduct in State and society.



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