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The Javanese Way of Law: Early Modern Sloka Phenomena
by Mason Hoadley
Amsterdam University Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-90-485-4189-8

The author's investigation of early-modern Javanese law reveals that judicial authority does not come from the contents of legal titles or juridical texts, but from legal maxims and variations thereof. A century and a half ago Simon Keyzer, a recognized scholar of Javanese law, noted that understanding of that law is dependent upon a grasp of such pithy expressions, which provide the key to the whole body of suits. (*Preface*, C.F. Winter, *Javaansche Zamenspraken*, 1858, which examines hundreds of *sloka*, the majority of which are directed to prevailing legal practice).Drawing upon the contents of 18th century Javanese legal texts, the present work builds upon Keyzer's and Winter's references to '*sloka*-phenomena', namely *sloka* proper (maxims) and its derivatives *sinalokan* (that made of *sloka*), *aksara* here meaning legal principles, and *prakara* (matter, case). These are usually conveyed in vignettes illustrating their function and as a group, constitute the essence of traditional Javanese written law.

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