Modern readers have been baffled by the combination of legal, dramatic, and theological elements in the 14th century Processus Sathanae, a mock trial drama in which the devil's advocate and the Virgin Mary employ various Roman law concepts in a courtroom debate regarding the devil's claim that he was wrongfully dispossessed of humanity. This article examines the Processus Sathanae along with an early source of the drama in a Marcionite creation dialogue and argues that by foregrounding equitable and emotional appeals the drama taught late medieval law students important lessons regarding legal oratory during a crucial period in the development of European jurisprudence.
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