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Knowledge of the Pragmatici pdf download

Book Title Knowledge Of The Pragmatici
Book AuthorThomas Duve
Total Pages396
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Knowledge of the Pragmatici – Legal and Moral Theological Literature and the Formation of Early Modern Ibero- America

Edited by Thomas Duve – Otto Danwerth


Book Preface

For a long time, the legal history of early modern colonial Ibero- America has focused on royal legislation, law treatises or other legal sources from the Iberian tradition and, more recently, from its commune.

In the last two decades, there has been an impressive growth of research in the ‘History of Justice’, with important contributions from social and cultural history, usually concentrating on-court practice and local law.

That historiography, however, did only rarely take into consideration a topic, which is crucial for understanding the formation of Ibero- American normative orders between the 16th and 18th centuries: the use of normative knowledge, specific practical reasoning and normative practices from the religious field.

It has also failed to examine systematically a literary genre that we call ‘pragmatic normative literature’, meaning those books written for the orientation and use of legal practitioners, crown officials, or for persons in charge of the cura animarum, the missionaries, priests, and other officeholders in ecclesiastical institutions.

Our book builds on the hypothesis that this ‘pragmatic normative literature, in particular the strand that refers back to the tradition of moral theology, can be a key to an important dimension of colonial legal culture: the formation of colonial normative orders through the legal and normative knowledge from the religious field.

This literature, which has received scarce attention also in European legal history, has special significance and functionality not only in the remote frontier context of the early modern empire. It was used in the colonial centres and it accompanied missionaries, but also laymen, to regions where no crown official could take office.

It contained the basic moral precepts of early modern society and dealt with many aspects which are commonly considered ‘legal’: contracts, usury, property, crime, responsibility, etc.

As Thomas Duve shows in his introductory chapter, these texts – such as manuals for confessors, catechisms, and moral theological instructions – and their importance has to be understood as part of a specific historical formation, the 16th and 17th century Ibero- American regime of the production of normative knowledge.

They allowed localisations and cultural translations and enabled erudite as well as non- erudite actors to teach and enforce the moral and legal obligations, codes of conduct and world visions both to the local indigenous and to the European population.

They represent an important source for explaining the complex construction of the colonial normative order, and they are key to understand how a basic ‘normative literacy’ emerged that made communication about normativity possible, not least between the different groups and peoples living in the vast territories occupied by the European invaders and settlers.

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