oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - More simple questions about Justinian's Digest
Justinian's Digest is one and a half times the length of the Bible and just as controversial. There is so much obscurity, so much difficulty and so much disagreement among scholars that it is difficult to know where to start to study the way in which it was compiled.
In 1995 I suggested, in the context of Bluhme's Tables, that we should ask simple questions, often using the question : "Why?" For example : the compilers' instructions were to follow the order of the Edict - so why did one committee start by reading the commentaries on Sabinus, which do not follow that order? I asked five simple questions about Bluhme's Tables.
The same technique can usefully be applied to the prefaces to Justinian's codification, or more widely to the whole process of compilation of the Institutes, Digest and Code. To understand what happened we need to keep on asking : "Why?"
Here are some of the questions. The questions are simple, but the answers may not be. I cannot answer them all.
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