Interpretandi scientia : an intellectual history of Roman jurisprudence in the early Empire
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This thesis proposes a new model of situating Roman jurisprudence in the intellectual world of the Early Empire. Moving away from the traditional question as to the relationship between law and philosophy, I take a wider view by approaching the jurists as (in their own words) engaging in legal interpretation, and I compare and contrast them with other ancient scholars involved in interpretation: philosophers, medical readers of Hippocrates, grammarians, etc. Chapter 1 studies ancient intellectuals’ claiming and constructing expert authority for their learning. Jurists are well-versed in the topoi developed in Hellenistic scholarship/science; they are thus fully embedded in (rather than: isolated from) the wider intellectual landscape. Situating Pomponius’ history of jurisprudence in its literary as well as socio-political contexts, I argue in chapter 2 that the text constructs a history of jurisprudence that suggests that jurists were crucial to the rise of Rome. Chapter 3 studies Gaius’ interpretative practices through his engagement with older legal texts within the exegetical culture of the second century. Gaius shares with philosophers and medical doctors an interest in mining wisdom from old texts, but he also emphasises the progress made within the legal tradition ever since. Chapter 4 focuses on collecting legal knowledge. I argue that the spread of a common structure of law books signals that law was a well-integrated “discipline”. Chapter 5 studies juristic engagement with expert knowledge from outside the legal tradition. I argue that jurists’ explicit engagement with philosophical concepts does not entail commitments to larger pieces of philosophical doctrine. Chapter 6 analyses the development of legal doctrine about causation and liability in the context of the lex Aquilia. I argue that juristic debates and interpretations are largely shaped and constrained by the legal (Aquilian) tradition, although jurists are to some extent open to intellectual debates and social values.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Electronic copy restricted until 27th May 2019
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations
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