Embarking on a unique study of Roman criminal law, Judy Gaughan has developed a novel understanding of the nature of social and political power dynamics in republican government. Revealing the significant relationship between political power and attitudes toward homicide in the Roman republic, Murder Was Not a Crime describes a legal system through which families (rather than the government) were given the power to mete out punishment for murder. With implications that could modify the most fundamental beliefs about the Roman republic, Gaughan's research maintains that Roman criminal law did not contain a specific enactment against murder, although it had done so prior to the overthrow of the monarchy. While kings felt an imperative to hold monopoly over the power to kill, Gaughan argues, the republic phase ushered in a form of decentralized government that did not see itself as vulnerable to challenge by an act of murder. And the power possessed by individual families ensured that the government would not attain the responsibility for punishing homicidal violence. Drawing on surviving Roman laws and literary sources, Murder Was Not a Crime also explores the dictator Sulla's "murder law," arguing that it lacked any government concept of murder and was instead simply a collection of earlier statutes repressing poisoning, arson, and the carrying of weapons. Reinterpreting a spectrum of scenarios, Gaughan makes new distinctions between the paternal head of household and his power over life and death, versus the power of consuls and praetors to command and kill.
Producing Christian Culture takes as its thread the 'interpretative genres' within which medieval people engaged with the Bible. Contributors to the volume present specific material as a case study illustrative of a specific genre, whether devotional, homiletical, scholarly, or controversial. The chronological range moves from St Augustine to the use of gospel texts in polemical writing of the first two decades of the 1500s, with focal sections on early medieval Anglo-Saxon and Carolingian theology, the scholastic turn of the High Middle Ages, and the influence of vernacular writing in the later Middle Ages. The tremendous range and vitality of medieval responses to biblical texts are highlighted within the studies.
Essays on the Theopolitical Interpretation of the Bible
Author: Matthew A. Tapie
Publisher: Fortress Press
Although scholars increasingly understand Scripture to contain political dimensions and implications, the interpretation of Scripture is often marginalized in most scholarly discussions of political theology. Reading Scripture as a Political Act takes a step toward remedying this situation by exploring some of the ways the church has read Scripture politically. In particular, this volume examines the political character of premodern and modern theologians’ readings of Scripture with attention to how their readings relate to or address political challenges in their particular social and historical settings. The essays attempt to illuminate the ways that the theological interpretation of Scripture shaped the theopolitical imaginations of Augustine, Basil of Caesarea, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Bartolome de las Casas, John Wesley, Karl Barth, Henri de Lubac, and John Howard Yoder, among others. Several essays in the volume also take constructive steps and suggest how these models of reading Scripture can inform the contemporary task of reading Scripture in political contexts. The volume covers the earliest Christian centuries to the late modern era, and considers carefully the close coordination between Scripture, theology, and social and political concerns. As a whole, the collection provides a robust survey of Christian theopolitical interpretation of the Bible.