oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Perceptions of Roman justice

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



The relationship(s) between "law in books" and "law in action" is fast emerging as an important area of research in relation to "law and society in the Roman world". Contrary to popular perceptions, research in this area does not focus on the gap between "law in books" and "law in action" (for the existence of such a gap is almost inevitable), but on the reasons for the existence of the gap and the various ways in which individuals accessed justice under these circumstances. To that end, the focus of this article is a specific episode recounted in the New Testament, when Roman legal officials treated Christian missionaries seemingly unfairly and in contravention of Roman law. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that accounts such as these need to be carefully analysed using elements of textual criticism in order to uncover perceptions of justice in the Roman world.

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