Roman Law Study Group Wanted (Latin) !!

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andmed
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Roman Law Study Group Wanted (Latin) !!

Postby andmed » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:27 am

Hi, All

Has anyone during study in law school come across or heard about advanced Latin seminars? Not anything like ordinary Latin language courses for the students, rather for the lecturers or law professors with fairly good knowledge of Latin, who regularly get together, read, discuss and translate in English those boring and perplexed Latin texts?

I live in a civil law country and here we have classical roman law texts study group. In our case it is grant-sponsored translation project, with core part made up by historians, who graciously let the law professors take part too, since they deal with the law texts. Although I am a lawyer and not a full-fledged participant of this high assembly, yet I love to be there.

I am considering now LLM in international law or SIPA-like study in the USA, and would give preference to the law school where I can find this kind of study/academic group on Roman Law.

Any information is welcome.

Andrey

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Duralex
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Re: Roman Law Study Group Wanted (Latin) !!

Postby Duralex » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:26 am

I'd be surprised if any American-based LLMs did this. Maybe some SJDs in their own research. The only discussion I've seen of law French and law Latin in English is in Tiersma's book (Legal Langauge) which is also what Garner points to in his books (Garner being a prominent American scholar of legal writing.)

You might look at schools in Louisiana, which has some civil law (although it is by way of France), or maybe look for American scholars who have worked on translation or annotation and figure out where they teach.....

I think this is going to be hard to find in the US. Very few Americans know Latin, and most of them are not lawyers. They are unlikely to learn it for an LLM. American law students who do know it are not encouraged to use it these days, with a shift towards teaching a plainer style of legal writing. US law students do not memorize the codes in the same way as I'm told European students do. There would be little reason for an American LLM to translate the Justinian code as an exercise, even doing an international program. There's just too little time and it is not a practical approach.

Plus if you do an LLM here coming from a civil law country you're going to be learning the common law system, not doing more of what you've already done. (At least that's what I've seen from the sidelines observing the Loyola/Bologna program.)

andmed
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Re: Roman Law Study Group Wanted (Latin) !!

Postby andmed » Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:59 pm

Thanks for the nice reply.

1) I am sorry if I did not make my question sufficiently clear, but it certainly was not about latin study group "for LLM students", but about groups (of enthusiasts or academicians) being "at the University" (might not even be attributed to the law faculty only). How it works here - each Tuesday at 18'clock those interested from various faculties (faculty of history and the law school) come together and do the job. It is certainly not intended for the students, and the seminar is not much advertised, but no entrance tickets either, so if you want, you just come.

I would expect the same to be true for the US Universities and Law Schools. The real problem is that such groups are not being "ranked" or push forward, that is why I am wondering here at the forum. (Good hint on tracing the modern latin translators, will try, thank you, it is not always easy though to do it).

Reading the text and discussing what the word "proprietas" in the context meant and what would be the best equivalent in (here) English - "property", "things", or as the case might be, "chattels", "choses" or "possessions", clearly is not too much interesting for a practical-minded student. It make sense for academia, at minimum -- I would suggest -- in learning one's own legal language.

2) Common law, surely, is obvious choice for a foreign lawyer, who needs to learn English law. I am majoring Comon law, if it possible so to say. I do phd research, thus it is more than just hobby. As an experiment I lectured one semester on English and American Law to our law students - not anything american lawyer would find intriguing, of course, but for local students it was.

Common law would be essential in LLM study, whereas latin seminar would only let me keep track on latin and give some extra help with English, not more.

Andrey

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Duralex
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Re: Roman Law Study Group Wanted (Latin) !!

Postby Duralex » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:16 pm

I think I get your drift--although I would reiterate that in American legal writing the use of Latin is increasingly regarded as obscurantism and is discouraged except where unavoidable at even the highest levels. American students are often told to prefer words of Anglo-Saxon origin over their Latinate synonyms when writing in English, as they tend to be more terse. I'm not sure if you're likely to find a law-specific Latin study group anywhere, I don't think that many American JDs or LLMs do work that requires them to wrestle with the nuances of legal Latin usage, but maybe someone will speak up and correct me. I'd think your best bet would be to find a school with a strong Classics/History department that offers classes on the kinds of texts that interest you and audit them, or find a law school that has a professor who does work in legal linguistics with an appropriate focus and inquire about assisting with their work.

andmed
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Re: Roman Law Study Group Wanted (Latin) !!

Postby andmed » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:02 am

To me it is a degradation

Till the 20th century american and english lawyers had a good deal of latin -- those ones who are being cited occasionally by your higher courts today. Right up to the 21st century you still have so many english translations of latin law texts, as not every country of civil law enjoys.

This interest was not incidential. On the larger scale there are more similarities between English law and Roman law, than seems to be the common view in the english speaking world today. Legalese in England borrowed enormously from Latin (through old French), much more than in some civil law countries be they even such charismatic, as, say, Germany. Methodologically too, if one looks into the real latin law texts, he will see that the way Roman lawyer thought was in fact much closer to the English "case approach", than to what was deemed to be "civil" law method, which in reality was rather the result of 18-19th centuries systematization by French and German codifiers.

Overall, distance between current English law and Roman legacy is often exaggerated. I still hope that in the age of law and economics and the standardized math LSAT tests there are readers of law latin in the USA remaining, alas well hidden.

Andrey

p.s. And yes, oddly enough, your lawyers up to date are fond of latin technical terms in the papers to a larger degree than their counterparts from civil law countries.




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