Dante and the Limits of the Law

Dante and the Limits of the Law

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In Dante and the Limits of the Law, Justin Steinberg offers the first comprehensive study of the legal structure crucial to Dantea€™s Divine Comedy. Steinberg reveals how Dante imagines an afterlife dominated by elaborate laws, hierarchical jurisdictions, and rationalized punishments and rewards. Steinberg makes the compelling case that Dante deliberately exploits this highly-structured legal system to explore the phenomenon of exceptions to it, introducing Dante to crucial current debates about literaturea€™s relation to law, exceptionality, and sovereignty. Examining how Dante probes the limits of the law in this juridical otherworld, Steinberg argues that exceptions were vital to the medieval legal order and that Dantea€™s otherworld represents an ideal a€œsystem of exception.a€ Yet Dante saw this system as threatened on earth by the dual crises of church and Empirea€”the abuses and overreaching of the popes and the absence of an effective Holy Roman Emperor. In his imagination of the afterlife, Steinberg shows, Dante seeks to address this gap between the universal validity of Roman law and the lack of a sovereign power to enforce it. Exploring the institutional role of disgrace, the entwined phenomena of judicial discretion and artistic freedom, medieval ideas about privilege and immunity, and the place of judgment in the poem, this is an elegantly argued book that persuasively brings to life Dantea€™s sense of justice.a€œJustiniana#39;s Jus and Justificatio in Paradiso 6.10a€“27, a€ Modern Language Notes 127.1 (supplement, 2012 Jan), 130a€“37; and ... Kevin Attell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005); and Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept ofSovereignty, ed. and trans. ... For medieval law as a system of exception, see the essays collected in Mas- simo Vallerani, ed., a€œSistemi di eccezioni, a€ aanbsp;...

Title:Dante and the Limits of the Law
Author: Justin Steinberg
Publisher:University of Chicago Press - 2013-12-22

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