The Western legal tradition portrays itself as a tradition of rationality. Although this tradition is rooted in the academic treatment of law at the medieval university, medieval juridical mannerisms seem to be anathema to Weberian 'formal rationality.' Scholasticism has become the
synecdoche for the problems we moderns have when trying to access medieval thought. Medieval Scholastic jurisprudence seems prima facie strangely formalistic, guided by ambitions that are incomprehensible to the 'modern mind'. Yet medieval jurisprudence is not as remote from us as it
might seem at first glance. This paper aims to demonstrate that what connects the medieval and the modern jurist are aspects of legal discourse that cannot be explained in 'rational' terms. To this end, it focuses on the legal aesthetics of the Scholastic jurists, drawing mainly on the works
of Erwin Panofsky and Umberto Eco.
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