(A2-26) Aequitas as a topos of legitimation between religion, law and politics

The project addresses the question as to how and for what purpose aequitas has been invoked in discourses since the Middle Ages. First of all, this question, by nature, concerns lawyers, philosophers and theologians alike, if, for example, decision-making draws on extralegal authorities so that the theory of equity of Nicomachean ethics is therefore just as important as the later contentual charging of aequitas under the influence of Christianity. However, the phenomenon is also of general historical interest. If not even legal, theologian and political disputes can in principle be separated from their social context, this applies all the more wherever religious beliefs or ethical sentiment are expressly drawn on. Notwithstanding this, however, research into the question outlined above has previously remained largely within the bounds of single disciplines, focusing on the aequitas canonica in canon law, for example, or on the contrast of ius aequum and ius strictum in secular law.

In its first part, the project aims at breaking down the present bounds and at addressing with a historical comparative approach the application of aequitas as a topos of legitimation. The dialogue between lawyers, theologians, philosophers and historians is to yield information about the function in which aequitas oriented argumentation has developed since the flourishing of legisprudence and canon law in the Middle Ages until the present age. Based on this, it is to be established to what extent and with which authorisation aequitas was in each case a gateway for which ideals, and what controlled the criteria according to which the invoking of aequitas was legitimate. In parallel to this first part of the project, it will be determined in a separate detailed analysis in the second part what notions about aequitas based argumentations guided the jurisprudence at the beginning of its “renaissance” at the turn of the 11th to the 12th century. This is to shed light on, above all, how the ancient sources’ authority was substantiated and whether it was possibly gradually consolidated. Overall, the project aims at improving on a fundamental level the perception of the close interleaving of religion, law and the decisions of the state beyond the material phenomena that are already widely noticed today (such as the fair price theory).

The Project is part of interconnecting platform E Differentiation and De-Differentiation and coordinated project group The liquefaction and solidification of normativity.