It is my pleasure to offer brief comments on the three papers on ancient public spheres, dealing respectively with Babylonian (Kathryn Slanski), Egyptian (J.G. Manning), and Athenian (Adriaan Lanni) displays of law and justice. Whether my knowing next to nothing about all three subjects handicaps me for better or worse I leave to others to determine.
First, an anecdote: Shortly after September 11, 2001, I was with Judith Resnik, who, in response to the great proliferation of American flags on display on buildings, vehicles, and jacket lapels, commented that it would be better for us to "show our courts." Although I could not quite visualize what physically she had in mind (representations of justice appended to our car radio antennae?), I clearly understood her sentiment-that it was the exercise of justice through our courts that would be a more fitting and effective and even patriotic response to the threats represented by 9/11 than the display of our flag. With the publication of her and Dennis Curtis's monumental volume, Representing Justice, and with the papers presented at the conference on the same theme, I understand better what "showing our courts" means, in the dual senses of showing and showing off opening our courts, and by extension our legal system as a whole, to greater public view and participation among our citizenry; and displaying them in patriotic pride to our foreign adversaries as the most powerful weapons in our democratic arsenal.
Fraade, Steven D.
"Violence and Ancient Public Spheres: A Response,"
Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities:
1, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlh/vol24/iss1/6