Chapter 7 investigates the multiple ways arguers can question the legitimacy of an interpretation, thereby entering the stasis of jurisdiction. There are two main points of contention in this stasis: whether the person issuing the interpretation has the right to do so, and whether the interpreted text has any authority on the issue at hand. Other concerns involve the place, time, style, and delivery of an interpretation, as well as the hermeneutic method behind an interpretation. This chapter’s extended analysis examines the lines of argument fifteenth-century Italian humanist Lorenzo Valla employed to discredit the forged Donation of Constantine, an imperial decree allegedly written by Constantine the Great that ceded power over the Western Roman Empire to the pope. Studying the types of arguments people use in the stasis of jurisdiction reveals the specific ways that communities manage, control, and coordinate acts of textual interpretation in alignment with their values.
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