Thursday, July 28, 2011

De Arte et de Jurisprudentia: Meditationes ad Res

Dr. Jolande Goldberg, inaugural winner of the AALL Distinguished Lectureship, gave an address Monday entitled De Arte et de Jurisprudentia: Meditationes ad Res. The subtitle given in the program, Some Aspects of Legal Iconography, gave more of an idea of what they talk was about. She explored the images in legal books describing first consanguinity relationships in religious law -- i.e. who you are related and who you are not allowed to marry -- and then showed how the same images (often presented as a tree) are used to describe the inheritance relationships in civil law -- i.e. who inherits first, etc. Interestingly, Goldberg claims that it was the issue of inheritance that was the very first bit of civil law that was worked out. It seems that this was thing in life that first needed a legal expression. It was a fascinating talk, and it will be interesting to see it in print, where we can see the images up close. She opened it by discussing how she came to be writing the classification schedules for civil and then religious laws, and how they too use similar "tree" to explain the relationship not of relatives but of parts of the law. She liked this project, she said, finding it good for "testing the wits and pushing the envelope." Anyone who knows Dr. Goldberg knows that that is something she would like very much. Look for the published version in Law Library Journal.

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