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Stephanus en zijn Digestenonderwijs

04 September 2008

PhD ceremony: mw. H. de Jong, 14.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Thesis: Stephanus en zijn Digestenonderwijs

Promotor(s): prof. B.H. Stolte, prof. J.H.A. Lokin

Faculty: Law


Stephanus and his teaching of the Digest

Stephanus is one of the so-called antecessors, professors who taught the codification of Emperor Justinian in the mid-sixth century AD in the Eastern Roman Empire. Fragments written by him are to be found throughout the entire body of Byzantine legal literature. They can be recognized by Stephanus’s characteristic style.

Through his teaching of the Digest Stephanus probably played an important role in the development of substantive law. Even though he did not introduce completely new and original theories of his own, his influence as an antecessor in his own time and the succeeding centuries makes him a figure of lasting significance. For example, it was Stephanus who observed a change in the usage of the formula ‘si paret eum dare oportere’. In classical law, this formula was used in the per formulam procedure of the time for bringing the condictio. Although both the formula procedure and the use of the process formulae had been abolished, traces of them can still be found in the Digest. According to Stephanus, although the strict legal meaning of dare is ‘to transfer title’, when used with the concept ‘f.s..’ it may also have a broader meaning, namely ‘to

give’. Characteristic of the fragments attributed to Stephanus are the many different names for the condictions, which always correspond with specific facts. The explanation for the scope of specific condictions which resulted from this must be sought in procedural law. It seems likely that the claimant had to indicate precisely which facts he wanted to base his action on before a condiction would be issued.


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