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Voz muerta. Poética social y retóricas notariales en Las Siete Partidas


This article was published as a contribution to a peer-reviewed monographic issue of Studi Ispanici on Law and Literature, edited by José Calvo, Professor of Law at the University of Málaga.

Rodríguez-Velasco, Jesús. “Voz muerta. Poética social y retóricas notariales en Las Siete Partidas.” Studi Ispanici 39 (2014): 28-39. Print.

“We should never believe a dead animal skin. Whatever is preserved within such a piece of material is just as dead as the animal itself. If one should like to record anything previously voiced by writing it on the skin, the result can only be a dead voice.

This is what the Canon Law professor Sinibaldo dei Fieschi, also known as Pope Innocent IV, claimed at some point in the first half of 13th Century. He was referring to the use of written documents, the parchments themselves, and their legal relevance. For Sinibaldo, there was nothing as compelling as the witness’s voice—the confession—obtained through a thorough inquisitio, which elicited an instant reaction. Only the physical presence of the confessing body, and the physical pressure on this body in the particular space created for interrogation, could produce the truth. The document removed this presence and erased it away. Everything else could be forged. The body could not.”

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