Reading a Dead Man’s Mind: Hellenistic Philosophy, Rhetoric and Roman Law

Auteur: Tellegen-Couperus, Olga & Tellegen, Jan Willem
Titre: Reading a Dead Man’s Mind: Hellenistic Philosophy, Rhetoric and Roman Law
Revue/Collection: in : Cicero's Law: Rethinking Roman Law of the Late Republic, Edited by Paul J. du Plessis
Lieu èdition: Edinburgh
Éditeur: Edinburgh University Press
Annèe edition: 2016
Pages: 26-49
Mots-clès: Droit - Diritto - Law, Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy, Politique - Politica - Politics, Sources - Fonti - Sources
Description: The chapter of Tellegen-Couperus and Tellegen, using an aspect of the law of succession as their example, proceed to question the commonly held belief that Stoicism was the driving force behind much of Republican Roman law. In fact, as they show, the jurists drew on a variety of philosophical influences, often also from the New Academy, when debating matters of law. This chapter, in turn, allows the modern reader to draw greater inferences regarding the impact of philosophy upon Republican Roman law, especially in light of the claims often made regarding the philosophical inclinations of some of the great Republican jurists. [editor].We will use the concept of voluntas testatoris as a case study. We will first briefly consider to what extent the sources– mainly Justinian’s Digest and the rhetorical and philosophical works of Cicero– can be of use (section 3.2). Next, we will summarily explain the modern views on the voluntas testatoris and the knowledge theories of the Stoa and the New Academy in antiquity (section 3.3). We will then describe the modern interpretation(s) of the causa Curiana (the first case in which the voluntas testatoris is mentioned), relate it to Stoic epistemology, and compare it with the rhetorical sources (section 4). Finally, having analysed four responsa from the Digest that are generally assumed to deal with the voluntas testatoris (section 5), we will conclude (section 6) that even though the Roman jurists did not develop a blanket theory of voluntas testatoris, if they did follow a particular philosophical school when solving legal problems like those caused by an unclear will, it would more likely have been the New Academy rather than the Stoa [Author].
Sigle auteur: Tellegen-Couperus, & Tellegen 2016