It is an established fact that when historical research in Roman Law turned to work on the Justinian compilation with the object of distinguishing in it Classical Law from Byzantine Law, scholars were immediately struck by the profound difference which survives between these two epochs.
In fact, the comparison between private law, such as it still appears in the writings of the late jurists of the Severian period and rescripts of Gordian and Diocletian, and the system of private law applied in the Justinian compilation, shows a profound change, not only in the institutions, but also and above all in the spirit of the system. This system appears influenced by elements and conceptions absolutely unknown to the Classics.
How has it happened? That is the question that scholars put to themselves when the study of the sources permitted, and it made felt the need of a broader survey which would embrace the evolution of Roman Law and which could formulate the manner of this evolution.
At first they had the tendency to attribute all substantial and formal innovations to Justinian's compilers, and consequently, to attribute to the Byzantine Emperor the greatest work of legislation which history records.
It was the time when Bluhme's theory on the formation of the Pandects and on the method followed by the compilers was accepted entirely, and was considered a demonstration of the dominant doctrine.
It was the time when in the work full of life of Hofmann the scholars saw only the most brilliant part, it is true, but also the weakest and the most fanciful, without at the same time perceiving the profound truth conceived by intuition and affirmed with a happy historical sense by this man of genius.