What is the Definition of Abrogate?


It is known as repealing the abolition, or revocation of a law, code, regulation or any other legal provision.

As such, it is a term that is closely related to the legal field since it consists in completely rendering a practice, habit or custom of something through a legal precept.

For the repeal of a law, norm, precept, it is a sine qua non requirement to publish a law, norm, precept of equal or greater hierarchy. For example, for the repeal of the Magna Carta of a country it is necessary to create and publish a new Constitution, a legal body that occupies the highest hierarchical rank, so it cannot be modified or abolished by any other norm of lower rank.

However, to repeal a law can be done expressly or tacitly. In the case of the first assumption, it is when the new law contains a declaration or provision leaving the previous law without effect, but in reference to the tacit form it is when the law itself contains contrary precepts or is incompatible with the previous law that is not repealed expressly.

The synonyms to abrogate are to abolish, invalidate, revoke, eliminate, withdraw. At this point, it is also mentioned as a synonym for abrogation to repeal, being an error since both terms are different and fulfill different functions, as explained below.

The term is of Latin origin “abrogāre”, which means “abolish a law”. The concept of this word comes from the Roman law “abrogatio“, as expressed by Digesto – legal work published by the Byzantine emperor – “repealing a law is when it is eliminated in its entirety.”

Finally, the English term is “repeal” or “annulment.

Repeal and abrogate

Currently, the term abrogate falls into disuse and is replaced by repeal, being two terms with different meanings.

As stated above, repealing serves to totally deprive the validity of a law, decree, code or regulation. For its part, repealing has to do with the loss of the validity of one or more legal provisions contained in the law, regulation, code or any other, by virtue of the creation or existence of a provision that replaces the previous one.

Repeal in the Bible

In the narrative of the Sermon on the Mount, a biblical passage recorded in the book Matthew 5: 17-18: “do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly, I say to you that until heaven and earth pass, neither a jack nor a tilde will pass from the law, until everything has been fulfilled.”

This term is found in the New Testament several times, but with a misinterpretation about the nature or concept of the word itself. Taking into account the fragment of the Bible described above, it can be shown that the word abrogate is used as the opposite of fulfillment, and it is for this reason that many believers cite this text to indicate that the law of Moses is still in force.

On the other hand, the word abrogate in the Bible was analyzed as the literal translation of the Greek term “kataluo” which means “to collapse, destroy”, but these are used in the sense of demolishing a wall, temple, house and its synonyms, and it is found in several chapters of the Bible but always with this intention, as is the case of:

“(…) And they did not find it even though there were many false witnesses. But later two appeared, who said: He declared: “ I can destroy the temple of God and in three days rebuild it. ” Matthew 26: 60-61.