June 11, 2015

Readings of the Oresteia, Its Influence, and Conceptions of Law

Lukas Van den Berge, Utrecht University School of Law, and Christiaan Caspers, Radboud University Nijmege; Murmellius Gymnasium have published The Right and the Good in Aeschylus’ Oresteia and Yael Farber's Molora: Transitional Justice between Deontology and Teleology at 11 Utrecht Law Review 80 (2015). Here is the abstract.
The antagonism between deontological and teleological conceptions of law can be felt throughout the field of law. It is particularly pressing, however, in the context of what is commonly referred to as ‘transitional justice’. Should the legal response to massive violence and bloodshed be primarily a deontological one, giving primacy to the right in awarding ‘each what is his’ (suum cuique) according to a given set of principles of law? Or should this response be primarily teleological in nature, with the right being subservient to the restoration of society as a higher good? Our paper investigates this issue from the perspective of a Ricoeurian reading of Aeschylus’ Oresteia and Yael Farber’s Molora, a modern play in which Aeschylus’ story is staged against the backdrop of post-apartheid South Africa. It is argued that both the Greek original and its modern adaptation confirm Ricoeur’s view of justice as a precarious balance between Kantian deontology on the one hand and Aristotelian teleology on the other.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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