These extremely intersting and first-rate essays make an important contribution to many fields, to comparative law, Roman law, law and literature, and legal education.
Law Out of Contextby Alan Watson
Law and society are closely related, though the relationship between the two is both complicated and understudied. In a world of rapidly changing people, places, and ideas, law is frequently taken out of context, often with surprising and unnecessary consequences. As societies and their structures, religious doctrines, and economies change, laws previously established often remain unchanged. Dominant nations frequently impose their own laws on weaker nations, whether or not their cultures are similar. Conquered nations, after regaining freedom, often keep their conquerors' laws by default. Law is often misrepresented in literature, and legal scholars, citizens, and businesspeople alike ignore large portions of the legislation under which they live and work. Even the American system of legal education frequently proves itself irrelevant to a proper understanding of today's laws. Alan Watson studies examples from the ancient laws of Rome and Byzantium, laws within the Christian Gospels, and policies of legal education in the modern United States to demonstrate the need for a new approach to both law and legal education. Law Out of Context illustrates that only by understanding comparative legal history and by paying more attention to changes in our society can we hope to devise consistently fair and respected laws.
- University of Georgia Press
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Meet the Author
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 and Roman Law and Comparative Law (both Georgia). He is also the editor of the four-volume translation of the Digest of Justinian.
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Alan Watson, Distinguished Research Professor and Ernest P. Rogers Chair of Law at the University of Georgia, holds an M.A. and LL.B. from the University of Glagow, as well as four degrees from Oxford, including two doctorates (D.Phil. and D.C.L.). He is fluent in more than a dozen languages and has published more than 150 books and articles. He is perhaps the world's leading expert on Roman law, comparative law, legal history, and law and religion. This book is as outstanding as any he has written. More importantly, the criticism leveled at his book by Book News, Inc. of Portland, Oregon -- viz., 'Perhaps his arguments should be taken with a grain of salt as the very last sentence of the book falsely claims that slavery is not mentioned in the US Constitution.' -- shows how ignorant the reviewer in Portland is: Professor Watson was correct in noting that SLAVERY IS NOWHERE MENTIONED IN THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. The reviewer in Portland need only have bothered to read the Constitution to find that Professor Watson -- a native of Scotland -- obviously knows more about the American constitution than his American reviewer!