Ancient Law and Modern Understanding

At the Edges

Title Details

Pages: 168

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 03/15/2012

ISBN: 9-780-8203-4115-6

List Price: $22.95

Related Subjects

LAW / Legal History

Ancient Law and Modern Understanding

At the Edges

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  • Description
  • Reviews

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.

The insights that Watson has into the workings of law and the legal mind are often brilliant, occasionally controversial, but never boring. It's a splendid book.

—M. H. Hoeflich, author of Roman and Civil Law and the Development of Anglo-American Jurisprudence in the Nineteenth Century

It is sometimes said that 'law is too important to be left to the lawyers.' That should not become an excuse for not mastering the law, although this book shows it has sometimes been used that way. Moreover, it shows how often legal rules have simply been borrowed, without giving any thought to their economic or social consequences. This fact makes it doubly necessary for scholars in other fields to know something about law and comparative legal history.

—R. H. Helmholz, author of The Spirit of Classical Canon Law

About the Author/Editor

ALAN WATSON, Distinguished Research Professor and Ernest P. Rogers Chair at the University of Georgia School of Law, is regarded as one of the world's foremost authorities on Roman law, comparative law, legal history, and law and religion. He is the author of numerous books, including The State, Law, and Religion: Pagan Rome (Georgia) and Roman Law and Comparative Law (Georgia). He is also the editor of the four-volume translation of the Digest of Justinian.