Een getuie, geen getuie: die herkoms en betekenis van die regsreël van meervoudige getuies


Canon Law
Legal Stipulations
Roman Dutch Law


One witness, no witness: the origin and meaning of the legal rule of multiple witnessess

The practice of calling various witnessess to testify in court is so well known that it is taken for granted. Calvin even says that God “has naturally inscribed this law upon every heart”. Yet, in administering justice, it has not always been acknowledged and applied, thereby causing in many cases justice not to prevail. In searching for the origin of this vital rule, one has to go not to the Greeks or Romans, nor to the Babylonians or Persians, but to the Bible. It was given by God to Israel in establishing the truth and administering justice. It was a common rule during New Testament times and left its indelible stamp on the writings of the New Testament. In the fourth century it penetrated Roman law and eventually became part of Roman Dutch Law. One should respect the biblical meaning of terms like “witnessing” and “witness” as reflected in jurisprudence and reject the seemingly pious, but dubious practice endowing these terms with a spurious connotation.

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