In its turn, the Justinian selection was the object of a similar process on the part of the Continental jurists in the Middle Ages and in modern times, before our present age of codes and of written constitutions. For the Continental jurists of those days, it was not a question of “selecting” in the Justinian way, but of “interpreting,” that is, of stretching the meaning of the Justinian texts whenever it was necessary to give expression to new exigencies, while leaving the whole of it essentially valid, until recent times, as the law of the land in most of the Continental countries of Europe. Thus, while the old emperor had transformed the common law ascertained by the Roman jurists into a written law formally enacted by him, the medieval and the modern Continental jurists, before the enactment of present-day codes, transformed in their turn the formally enacted law of Justinian into a new law ascertained by the jurists, into a , as the Germans used to call it, which was approximately a revised edition of the Justinian and therefore of old Roman law.


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