Medieval European Law - Islamic Law Differences - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

Crime and prevention thereof. Loopholes, grey areas and the letter of the law.
Forum rules: No one line posts please.
#14701173
It is often claimed that one of the major civilisational differences between Europe and the Islamic world is that their legal systems are very different. Islamic Law is derived from religious sources whereas European law is not (although it can be influenced by religious values).

In the Middle Ages was law making largely secular or was it more similar to Islamic Law?
#14701179
If memory serves me, the continental European law systems were predicated on a tiered platform, the hierarchy of which is subject to the historical period and region.

Anyway, there were the edicts/laws from regional 'secular' (divine right god kings) authorities; then there were unwritten customs (no religious underpinnings), for lacunae they would fall back on Roman laws (Justianus) and the Catholic Church had its own canonical law system.
#14701225
@Political Interest
Law in Europe was first and foremost shaped by the Roman Empire and pre-existing customs, and the Roman law predates Christianism. Law in Europe was always of a secular nature, and the clergy was at best a very powerful lobby. That being said wedding and a few other things were of a religious nature, and therefore submitted to religious laws.

Besides there has been a clear separation between spiritual and temporal power in the Christian world, starting with Jesus (give to Caesar...), while Islam was founded and early shaped by men playing both the roles of head of the state and "leader of believers".

Finally the Koran is a code of laws for all aspects of life, from trade to slavery and wedding. While besides of the ten commandments and marital questions, the Old Testament does not say much.
#14701345
Harmattan wrote:Finally the Koran is a code of laws for all aspects of life, from trade to slavery and wedding. While besides of the ten commandments and marital questions, the Old Testament does not say much.


Eh, have you actually read either of those? The Old Testament says quite a lot about many things, from selling and buying land, dietary laws, through slavery, damages to property, cities of refuge, witness testimony to social treatment of lepers (and of course speaks in detail on ways of worship). I believe the strictly narrative part (I don't want to say "historical") starts only with the Book of Joshua.

Most of the Quran on the other hand is basically God speaking of His greatness, past prophets, the imminent Day of Judgement etc. While reading it you have to actively keep an eye for the legal parts.
#14701375
Harmattan wrote:Finally the Koran is a code of laws for all aspects of life, from trade to slavery and wedding. While besides of the ten commandments and marital questions, the Old Testament does not say much.

Have you read the Old Testament? Most of the first five books is prescriptive. The Koran does contain a lot of specific prescriptions for what to do and how, but IMO it is no more detailed or comprehensive than the Pentateuch.
#14701621
Have you read the Old Testament? Most of the first five books is prescriptive. The Koran does contain a lot of specific prescriptions for what to do and how, but IMO it is no more detailed or comprehensive than the Pentateuch.

Precisely. Left to their own devices, the Jews had a theocratic government. In fact, they were notorious in the ancient world for this. It was only following foreign conquest and foreign rule that the separation between the state and religion appeared. Many devout Jews even opted out of public life altogether (an almost unheard-of thing in the ancient Mediterranean world) and founded communes in the desert (e.g., the Essenes &c). Jesus' declaration to render under Caesar what was Caesar's and unto God what was God's was therefore a profoundly political declaration - essentially, a form of moderate Essenism. It was this declaration which the Christian world later took as the founding statement of its separation between Church and State - they supported each other, but they were essentially separate power centres. Without the historical accident of Israel's conquest by foreign powers from the Assyrians onwards, this separation might never have happened. And in the Islamic world, of course, it didn't happen.
#14702100
Would it therefore be fair to say that the idea of a European separation of church and state is an actual historical reality and not simply a theory?

When this observation is made you will often hear people say that it is not really true or that separation of church and state is only a feature of European modernity, something that occurred after the Renaissance and Enlightenment.

It appears to me that in the medieval Islamic world the church and state were one. In the medieval Christian world the church and state were closely aligned together but not identical and still separate entities.
#14702195
Would it therefore be fair to say that the idea of a European separation of church and state is an actual historical reality and not simply a theory?


To a degree, but there was still a lot of fighting and killing over religion in Europe. The whole UK Catholic vs Protestant thing for instance.
When this observation is made you will often hear people say that it is not really true or that separation of church and state is only a feature of European modernity, something that occurred after the Renaissance and Enlightenment.


If you're talking to an american then from our point of view most of Europe doesn't really have full separation of church and state today. You have state churches and stuff like that.

It appears to me that in the medieval Islamic world the church and state were one. In the medieval Christian world the church and state were closely aligned together but not identical and still separate entities.


The catholic church was perhaps the most powerful organization in the medieval world was it not?
#14702211
To a degree, but there was still a lot of fighting and killing over religion in Europe. The whole UK Catholic vs Protestant thing for instance.

But the Catholic vs Protestant split occurred precisely because the newly-formed northern European nation-states wanted to absorb religion into the state apparatus. The Catholic Church, after all, was a foreign power centre which often tried to exert control over the nation-state; for example, by excommunicating a ruler or even an entire nation (e.g., England under King John). The monarchs of northern Europe weren't having this; they wanted a compliant and loyal Church which would obey their orders. In other words, a national Church....

If you're talking to an american then from our point of view most of Europe doesn't really have full separation of church and state today. You have state churches and stuff like that.

The national state religions of Protestant Europe were an attempt to reverse the division between Church and State which had hitherto existed in Christendom. But, unlike the case with Islam, the state would absorb religion into itself rather than religion absorbing the state into itself.

The catholic church was perhaps the most powerful organization in the medieval world was it not?

Indeed it was. But that was not to last.... :lol:
#14702246
That's all true, but that doesn't erase the similarities that existed at the time till those events came to pass. It's not like that religious influence on law dissapeared overnight anyway. The churches influence on state law arguably lasts to this day even as it loses power every year that passes.
#14702257
The Christian Church has always been said to live under Roman Law:

"Ecclesia vivit lege Romana".

If you look into the history of the Roman Church's own legal structure you will notice that the Roman Church itself operates according to the Justinian Corpus.

And that is the main difference between the Christian world and the Muslim and Jewish worlds.

Muslims and Jews throughout their history organised their communities according to their scriptures and they still do in the places that they operate as minorities.

Christians though had Roman secular law as their basis of organising their communities and civil structure and that Roman Law pervaded not just christian civil society but the church itself.
#14755296
Interesting thread, and it must be said most contributors seem to be better read than I when it comes to the finer points of European/Christian law v Islamic law. But to me, it seems one has moved on the other has not. Or at least, as far as Christianity is concerned the people who interpret it have moved on.

OK so lets get this clear, If I want to black m[…]

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/netanyahu-s-offer-for-[…]

EU-BREXIT

You haven't got one shred of evidence that proves[…]

Actually, Special Olympian already provided video[…]