The historical overview offered by the present course shall attempt to track and put forward differentiations and affinities of ancient legal and political thinking with modern conceptions of law. The course will use as a vehicle of presentation the retrospective projection of the commonplace natural law/legal positivism antithesis back on to antique and medieval schemes of legal thought. Detecting the flaws of such anachronism through reading the classics and discussing the political and ideological context of each era will allow students to grasp the essentials of the historical move from the nomos/physis dialectics within the early Greek polis, through Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Greek and Roman, neoplatonism and the christian revolution to the conciliatory thomistic aristotelianism and the emergence of early political modernity.
Thus, students are expected to integrate the elements of legal knowledge they already have acquired through their studies, within a substantive long-term conceptual perspective. They will discover similarities and affinities and common ancestry with cultural models which may seem now foreign or distant. Yet they are mainly expected to sharpen not just their historical consciousness but also their sense of moral responsibility for the promotion of a legal culture that respects diversity and critical opinion.
Course Content (Syllabus)
The main topics to be discussed in the context of the course are:
1. Law' claim and the positive law/natural law divide. The exemplary situation of Sophocles'Antigone 2. The duty to obey the city's laws in Plato's Crito. 3. Aristotle's Politics and the claim for democratic acceptance. 4. Cosmopolitan despotism and the stoic cult of Law. Cicero, Seneca and the great jurisconsults of the middle empire. 5. The resurgence of Neoplatonism at the late empire. StAugustine and the long platonic dream of a universal christian state. 6. The voluntaristic reversal of platonism by the nominalists and the averroist reading of Aristotle. The conciliation attempt of StThomas of Aquin. 7. Into modernity: Jus civile. Hegemony and the new concept of nature. 8. Modern natural law and the invention of rights of man. Students will be provided with a selection of excerpts from classical texts, which they are allowed to freely use during tests and examination.
Plato, idea, good, Aristotle, polis, Stoics, Physis, Nomos Basileus, Rome, Roman Law, Neoplatonism, Christianity, Augustine, Corpus Juris, Theocracy, Aquinas, Middle Ages
Additional bibliography for study
Στους φοιτητές παρέχεται εξαρχής συλλογή αποσπασμάτων κλασικών κειμένων που μπορούν να χρησιμοποιούν ελεύθερα και κατά τον χρόνο της εξέτασης.
Students are provided from the beginning with a comprehensive reader of classical (greek and latin fragment in english translation) texts, which they can consult even during examinations.
Σε κάθε επιμέρους παράδοση τους παρέχεται επίσης επιλεγμένη δευτερεύουσα βιβλιογραφία (αποσπάσματα σύγχρονων έργων, άρθρα) σχετική με το ειδικότερο περιεχόμενο του συγκεκριμένου μαήματος.
All courses are supported by selected secondary bibliography (articles, excerpts etc.) distributed in class or through mail
G.H. Sabine, History of Political Thought, ed. Thomson Learning 1980.
Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History, University of Chicago Press 1953.
Eric Voegelin, History of Political Ideas, volume I, Hellenism, Rome and Early Christianity, University of Missouri Press 1997.
Randall Lesaffer, European Legal History, Cambridge University Press 2009.