Its Connection with the Early History of Society, and Its Relation to Modern Ideas
Author: Henry Sumner Maine
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This hugely influential book of 1861 remains a landmark work in the intellectual history of jurisprudence.
Volume 1: The Ancient Near East
Author: Elisabeth Meier Tetlow
Publisher: A&C Black
Crime and punishment, criminal law and its administration, are areas of ancient history that have been explored less than many other aspects of ancient civilizations. Throughout history women have been affected by crime both as victims and as offenders. Yet, in the ancient world customary laws were created by men, formal laws were written by men, and both were interpreted and enforced by men.
At the Edges
Author: Alan Watson
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
In Ancient Law and Modern Understanding Alan Watson proposes that ancient law is relevant and important for understanding history, theology, sociology, and literature. "Law, though technical," he writes, "is not remote from scholarship on other matters, and law is a central element in society." From Homeric Greece to present-day Armenia, Watson examines law's influence. Without a sensitivity to technical legal language, scholars of literature or history miss much: the use of puns in Plautus, Sulla's claim that Julius Caesar was descended from a slave, the relationship between the Synoptic Gospels. Legal history is an essential tool for understanding society, Watson argues, but it must be applied with knowledge of how law moves from one society to the next, legal reliance on authority, juristic concern with apparent trivia, and the impact on legal growth.
Author: Dennis P. Kehoe,Thomas McGinn
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
An engaging look at how ancient Greeks and Romans crafted laws that fit--and, in turn, changed--their worlds
Author: Henry Sumner Maine, Sir
Publisher: Createspace Independent Pub
I need hardly say that the publication of the Twelve Tables is not the earliest point at which we can take up the history of law. The ancient Roman code belongs to a class of which almost every civilised nation in the world can show a sample, and which, so far as the Roman and Hellenic worlds were concerned, were largely diffused over them at epochs not widely distant from one another. They appeared under exceedingly similar circumstances, and were produced, to our knowledge, by very similar causes. Unquestionably, many jural phenomena lie behind these codes and preceded them in point of time. Not a few documentary records exist which profess to give us information concerning the early phenomena of law; but, until philology has effected a complete analysis of the Sanskrit literature, our best sources of knowledge are undoubtedly the Greek Homeric poems, considered of course not as a history of actual occurrences, but as a description, not wholly idealised, of a state of society known to the writer. However the fancy of the poet may have exaggerated certain features of the heroic age, the prowess of warriors and the potency of gods, there is no reason to believe that it has tampered with moral or metaphysical conceptions which were not yet the subjects of conscious observation; and in this respect the Homeric literature is far more trustworthy than those relatively later documents which pretend to give an account of times similarly early, but which were compiled under philosophical or theological influences. If by any means we can determine the early forms of jural conceptions, they will be invaluable to us. These rudimentary ideas are to the jurist what the primary crusts of the earth are to the geologist. They contain, potentially, all the forms in which law has subsequently exhibited itself. The haste or the prejudice which has generally refused them all but the most superficial examination, must bear the blame of the unsatisfactory condition in which we find the science of jurisprudence. The inquiries of the jurist are in truth prosecuted much as inquiry in physics and physiology was prosecuted before observation had taken the place of assumption. Theories, plausible and comprehensive, but absolutely unverified, such as the Law of Nature or the Social Compact, enjoy a universal preference over sober research into the primitive history of society and law; and they obscure the truth not only by diverting attention from the only quarter in which it can be found, but by that most real and most important influence which, when once entertained and believed in, they are enabled to exercise on the later stages of jurisprudence.
Author: Ellen Glasgow
Publisher: The Floating Press
In The Ancient Law, protagonist Daniel Ordway finds himself at a crossroads. After serving a prison sentence for fraud, Ordway is disowned by his family and has few prospects for a new career. Lost and alone, he turns his back on everything he knows and strikes out to make a new life for himself.
The Balance Between Justice and a Legal System
Author: John Sassoon
Publisher: Intellect Books
John Sassoon’s study of the written laws of four thousand years ago puts paid to the belief that the most ancient laws were merely arbitrary and tyrannical. On the contrary, the earliest legal systems honestly tried to get to the truth, do justice to individuals, and preserve civil order. They used the death penalty surprisingly seldom, and then more because society had been threatened than an individual killed. Some of the surviving law codes are originals, others near-contemporary copies. Together they preserve a partial but vivid picture of life in the early cites. This occupies more than half the book. Comparison of ancient with modern principles occupies the remainder and is bound to be controversial; but it is important as well as fascinating. The first act of writing laws diminished the discretion of the judges and foretold a limit on individual justice. Some political principles such as uniformity of treatment or individual freedom have, when carried to extremes, produced crises in modern legal systems world wide. But it is tempting but wrong to blame the judges or the lawyers for doing what society require of them.
The Need for Inclusive Biblical Interpretation
Author: Cheryl Anderson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The Ten Commandments condone slavery, and Deuteronomy 22 deems the rape of an unmarried woman to injure her father rather than the woman herself. While many Christians ignore most Old Testament laws as obsolete or irrelevant-with others picking and choosing among them in support of specific political and social agendas-it remains a basic tenet of Christian doctrine that the faith is contained in both the Old and the New Testament. If the law is ignored, an important aspect of the faith tradition is denied. In Ancient Laws and Contemporary Controversies, Cheryl B. Anderson tackles this problem head on, attempting to answer the question whether the laws of the Old Testament are authoritative for Christians today. The issue is crucial: some Christians actually believe that the New Testament abolishes the law, or that the Protestant reformers Luther, Calvin, and Wesley rejected the law. Acknowledging the deeply problematic nature of some Old Testament law (especially as it applies to women, the poor, and homosexuals), Anderson finds that contemporary controversies are the result of such groups now expressing their own realities and faith perspectives. Anderson suggests that we approach biblical law in much the same way that we approach the U.S. Constitution. While the nation's founding fathers-all privileged white men-did not have the poor, women, or people of color in mind when they referred in its preamble to "We the people." Subsequently, the Constitution has evolved through amendment and interpretation to include those who were initially excluded. Although it is impossible to amend the biblical texts themselves, the way in which they are interpreted can-and should-change. With previous scholarship grounded in the Old Testament as well as critical, legal, and feminist theory, Anderson is uniquely qualified to apply insights from contemporary law to the interpretive history of biblical law, and to draw out their implications for issues of gender, class, and race/ethnicity. In so doing, she lays the groundwork for an inclusive mode of biblical interpretation.
Near Eastern Influences on Ancient Greek and Roman Law
Author: Raymond Westbrook
Publisher: JHU Press
Throughout the twelve essays that appear in Ex Oriente Lex, Raymond Westbrook convincingly argues that the influence of Mesopotamian legal traditions and thought did not stop at the shores of the Mediterranean, but rather had a profound impact on the early laws and legal developments of Greece and Rome as well. He presents readers with tantalizing fragments of early Greek or archaic Roman law which, when placed in the context of the broader Near Eastern tradition, suddenly acquire unexpected new meanings. Before his untimely death in July 2009, Westbrook was regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on ancient legal history. Although his main field was ancient Near Eastern law, he also made important contributions to the study of early Greek and Roman law. In his examination of the relationship between ancient Near Eastern and pre-classical Greek and Roman law, Westbrook sought to demonstrate that the connection between the two legal spheres was not merely theoretical but also concrete. The Near Eastern legal heritage had practical consequences that help us understand puzzling individual cases in the Greek and Roman traditions. His essays provide rich material for further reflection and interdisciplinary discussion about compelling similarities between legal cultures and the continuity of legal traditions over several millennia. Aimed at classicists and ancient historians, as well as biblicists, Egyptologists, Assyriologists, and legal historians, this volume gathers many of Westbrook’s most important essays on the legal aspects of Near Eastern cultural influences on the Greco-Roman world, including one new, never-before-published piece. A preface by editors Deborah Lyons and Kurt Raaflaub details the importance of Westbrook’s work for the field of classics, while Sophie Démare-Lafont’s incisive introduction places Westbrook’s ideas within the wider context of ancient law. -- Gerhard Thür, Austrian Academy of Sciences