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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versión On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versión impresa ISSN 0041-4751

Resumen

JUDO, Frank. The registrar and the evangelist: Exploratory thoughts on the methodological interaction between the law and Biblical science. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2021, vol.61, n.1, pp.246-258. ISSN 2224-7912.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2224-7912/2021/v61n1a15.

Both law and religion (at least in the so-called religions of the Book) are often defined by their handling oftexts, to which a certain authority is attributed. This similarity is the starting point ofthe author's exploration, which attempts to provide a perspective for answering the question of how law and religious science can learn from each other (and in particular the first from the second) on a methodological level. Compared to the field of Law and Literature, the interaction between law and religion appears to be in-depth, but limited to a number of areas. A broader interaction is therefore certainly possible, and probably also desirable. The analysis is made based on nine examples. First of all, the author examines what it means to attribute authority to a text rather than to one or more persons. In this context there appears to be an important difference between authoritative texts of a religious or legal nature. The latter are at least in principle open to amendment, which is generally not the case for the former. This has consequences for how they are dealt with and how they are interpreted. The authoritative texts have a special and probably unique position, but this does not alter the fact that they function within a broader framework. Recent evolutions in law have put pressure on the uniqueness of texts, making a more nuanced approach inevitable. The canonisation concept can be a useful tool in this respect. The question then arises as to the authorship of the authoritative texts. Neither in the religious nor in the legal context is the answer to this question self-evident. However, the question is relevant because it gives an indication of the way in which the texts were written, especially if the author S intentions are given a special status in the interpretation of the text. Nevertheless, this concept is more problematic than is usually recognised when interpreting legal texts. If one ignores the conflicting and often polemical context in which texts have been drafted, this is even more the case. Here, too, experiences with the interpretation of Bible texts can provide relevant examples for lawyers. Texts, however, do not only have authors, but also readers, who are a necessary condition for interpretation. Authoritative texts generally have temporal ambitions that transcend the contemporaries of the "authors". This temporal dimension also has consequences for the interpretation of texts, especially when a text is in fact a patchwork of sections of text, which are not necessarily written at the same time and in the same context. A possible objection to an excessive interaction between legal and religious thinking could be to emphasise the other goals of both genres of text. This remark is pertinent, but should not be exaggerated either. Just as religious texts pursue not only orthodoxy but also orthopraxy, the traditional view that legal texts only aim to regulate behaviour, and not opinions or views, is probably too sharply formulated. The tension between conviction and practice occurs in both areas, although not necessarily in the same form. Finally, we will briefly discuss the possibility of distinguishing rhetorical and literary forms and techniques in legal texts. This leads to the conclusion that lawyers have a lot to gain from having their dealings with the authoritative texts of their science enriched by taking note of the methodological discussions that have taken place within the framework of biblical science. This need not to affect the autonomy of legal science neither does it replace the familiar hermeneutical insights, but it makes it possible to detect blind spots in one's own handling of texts and to explore new traces of interpretation.

Palabras clave : law; Biblical science; methodology; hermeneutics; law and literature; canon; intended reader; original meaning; intentional fallacy; general principles of law.

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