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Ordering divine knowledge in late Roman legal discourse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the celebrated words of the Severan jurist Ulpian – echoed three hundred years later in the opening passages of Justinian’s Institutes – knowledge of the law entails knowledge of matters both human and divine. This essay explores how relations between the human and divine were structured and ordered in the Imperial codex of Theodosius II (438 CE). Deliberately side stepping vexed categories such as ‘Christian’, ‘pagan’, ‘heresiological’ etc., the essay self-consciously frames the question as one of ‘knowledge-ordering’ in order to develop a broader framework concerning relations between emperors and the divine. How was knowledge about the divine textualised in Book XVI of the Codex Theodosianus and with what implications for a late Roman imperial ‘ordering of knowledge’?


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-176
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

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