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The Hidden Laws: Matrimonial Law in Non-Legal Eastern Christian Sources (HiddenLaw)
Start date: Oct 1, 2013, End date: Sep 30, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

An official ruling does not always translate into practice, as legislation does not necessarily become the norm. Analyzing the gap between them provides a lens for understanding processes of influence, impact and change, of polemic and discourse, and of power and authority.This project focuses on matrimonial law in non-legal Christian literature from the Eastern Roman Empire in comparison to Christian, Roman and Jewish legal literature, from the fourth to the sixth centuries CE. Its objectives are to describe matrimonial practices and laws of Christians living in the Eastern Roman Empire according to non-legal sources, to reveal the origin and sources of influence of these practices and law and, lastly, to draw conclusions about the relations between Christians, Romans and Jews, and the different legal concepts circulating about law, power and authority.The means for achieving these objectives comprise four stages: 1) collection of data from select Greek and Syriac non-legal Christian writings and papyri from the fourth to the sixth centuries CE; 2) single-source and single-corpus study of the collected non-legal sources and complementary Christian, Roman and Jewish legal literature, using methods drawn from textual criticism and Semitic and Greek philology; 3) comparative analysis of these sources and analysis of the inter-communal relations they reflect; 4) social and historical analysis of law and legal concepts in late antiquity.The contribution will be in three areas: 1) the origin and sources of influence of matrimonial law in the Eastern Roman Empire; 2) the possible relations between Christians, Romans and Jews in this period; 3) the different legal concepts and attitudes concerning law, power and authority.The results will be published in a monograph and journal articles and posted in a website. In addition, I will organize an international conference on law in late antiquity in order to promote the study of social and legal history of late-antiquity.

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