In this article, I argue that the Collatio legum Mosaicarum et Romanarum is a persuasive legal text composed in the late antique aesthetic, “the Jeweled Style.” Though the Collatio has been strongly criticized for its apparent lack of sophistication, it represents a legal, textual practice in which the author created an intricate legal display by compiling quotations from the Pentateuch and from Roman legal material. The Jeweled Style, with its themes of juxtaposition, discontinuity, and referentiality, is a useful lens to view the Collatio because it helps us appreciate the aesthetic priorities of the author of the Collatio. Having acknowledged the Jeweled Style in the Collatio, I employ James Boyd White's notion of law as “constitutive rhetoric” to explain why an artistic aesthetic would appear in legal practice. In White's definition, law is an argumentative practice composed in culturally specific settings. These settings condition the practice of law so much so that, when we analyze legal texts, we should be sensitive to their cultural contexts.
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Research Article| June 01 2020
The Jeweled Jurist: Late Roman Legal Aesthetics
Studies in Late Antiquity (2020) 4 (2): 185–202.
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Ryan Pilipow; The Jeweled Jurist: Late Roman Legal Aesthetics. Studies in Late Antiquity 1 June 2020; 4 (2): 185–202. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/sla.2020.4.2.185
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