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The Expressive Function of Roman Law

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Those who study Roman law don't “collaborate” with other disciplines: they live in them. Romanists who aren't part philologist and social historian don't exist, and without some acquaintance with philosophy and the history of ideas they're just left behind. So they don't talk about "interdisciplinarity." Like the old joke: "What's water?" said the fish. The corollary is that Roman law is the perfect mirror for all manner of studies, and that includes relatively new ones, like the expressive function of law.

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S. P. Scott, translator of "The Civil Law"

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Students who come to learn Roman law invariably have a Bluebeard Moment with their teachers: "Don't open that door," the door being the covers of S. P. Scott's The Civil Law. Scott was an independent scholar from Ohio, and 100 years ago began translating all of Justinian's compilation, together with a handful of earlier sources. It appeared in 1932, published in 17 volumes, and remains in print. No one denies the feat — and no one praises the translation.  It’s a fair judgment, but perhaps Scott’s reputation should rest on more.

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This blog

Logo ThreeSome articles need more than just an abstract. Sometimes the research itself has an interesting backstory, or there's more to say than the article could include, or the article can be enhanced with images and links, or an older article needs a follow-up. It's also useful for us to hear from readers: we're very happy to receive comments on articles, and authors will appreciate errata. 

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The Journal

RLT150x150.pngRoman Legal Tradition is a peer-reviewed journal published online by the Ames Foundation and the University of Glasgow School of Law. The journal aims to promote the study of the civilian tradition in English. The editors welcome contributions on any aspect of the civilian tradition in ancient, medieval, and modern law.

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