German jurist; born at Mayence March 3, 1829; brother of Friedrich Dernburg. The Dernburgs are related to the French family of Derenbourg, which, before its settlement in France, was called "Dernburg" (see Derenburg). Dernburg was educated at the gymnasium of Mayence and the universities of Giessen and Berlin, graduating from the latter in 1851. In the same year he became privat-docent of the juridical faculty of the University of Heidelberg. In 1852 he was called to Zurich as assistant professor, and was appointed professor in 1855. In 1862 he accepted a similar position in the University of Halle, which he represented in the Prussian Herrenhaus (Upper House) from 1866 to 1873, when he became professor of Roman and Prussian law in the University of Berlin. He reentered the Herrenhaus in 1873. With Brinckmann and others he founded in 1851 the "Kritische Zeitschrift für die Gesammte Rechtswissenschaft."
Among his works may be mentioned: "Geschichte und Theorie der Kompensation," Heidelberg, 1854; 2d ed., 1868; "Das Pfandrecht," Leipsic, 1860-64; "Die Institutionen des Gaius, ein Kollegienheft aus dem Jahre 161 nach Christi Geburt," Halle, 1869; "Lehrbuch des Preussischen Privatrechts und die Privatrechtnormen des Reiches," ib. 1871-80; "Das Vormundschaftsrecht der Preussischen Monarchie," Berlin, 1875; 3d ed., edited by Schultzenstein, 1886; "Das Preussische Hypothekenrecht" (with Hinrichs), Leipsic, 1877-91; "Pandekten," ib. 1884-87; 6th ed., 1900-01; "Die Königliche Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin in Ihrem Personalbestande seit Ihrer Einrichtung bis 1885," ib. 1885; "Das Bürgerliche Recht des Deutschen Reiches und Preussen," Halle, 1898-1900.
The father of Dernburg and his whole family became Christians.
- Brockhaus, Konversations-Lexicon, 1901, s.v.