Jesse James

Columbia University

The Ancient Rhetorical Heart of Western Law

My project examines the role of psychology in the adversarial courtroom, the ways that court rules and the law permit litigants to use rhetoric and verbal art to persuade jurors and judges, even in an age of “scientific” evidence. I explore how ancient Greek legal practice influenced the development of this aspect of modern Anglo-American and European legal systems.

Jesse James is a Classicist, historian, and lawyer whose research focuses on the social and psychological dimensions of law, especially in ancient Greece. He has written about Greek international law, legal socialization, and Thucydides. He received his PhD in Classics from Columbia University, and fellowships from the German Archaeological Institute, Harvard Law School, and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

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