Judging by the Book: Christian Codices and Late Antique Legal Culture



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Points toward “symbiotic culture of book production and revision” as opposed to any causal relationship between “Christian” and “Roman” legal texts
Further to seminar’s more recent discussion (cite: Wieaker) on general culture of book production, argued that development of codex book form (in both Christian and Roman legal texts) should be considered as EXPRESSION OF A DEFINITE LATE ANTIQUE CULTURAL STYLE (CHARACTERISTIC/AESTHETIC), CHARACTERIZED BY A NEW RELATIONSHIP TO THE WRITTEN, TRANSMITTED WORD
SYMBOLIC Codex book could be “…closed and its front and back covers lavishly ornamented: thus,

VALUE symbolic of a new culture of written language and a new conception of the authority and value of the text.”
Justinian’s 6th century “codification” project took transformation of late Roman legal culture a step further:
Justinian’s insistence on Christian God’s involvement in the production of the Corpus Iuris Civilis directly influenced by Justinian’s own conception of his “imperial theocracy” …

JUSTINIAN NO LESS RELATED TO GOD THAN WERE THE TEXTS HE PROVIDED (!)
SACREDNESS” C/H interestingly comments that it is “…tempting to note…divine aid allegedly supplied by the Holy Spirit to the Justinianic legal commissioners was curiously analogous to the miraculous divine aid attributed ... to the 70 (or 72) Hebrew translators of the biblical Septuagint text.”
Augustine refashioned legend in late 4th century following dispute with Jerome re translation

of Vulgate OT books from Hebrew rather than Greek; per Augustine: “…translators owed no human bondage to the original Hebrew words being translated as the divine power of the Holy Spirit filled and ruled the mind that was translating…”
C/H maintains that for Augustine, Holy Spirit “…animated both Hebrew prophets and 70 Hellenistic translators”; and, devout translators who produced Greek Septuagint were “…liberated by the Holy Spirit”, owing no “slavish bondage” to the original Hebrew text; accordingly, new text of Septuagint viewed as SACRED AND DIVINELY SANCTIONED
LEGAL Justinian’s legal officials expected to be familiar with concept that “…physical presence of

APPLICABILITY


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