Knowledge of the Pragmatici

Legal and Moral Theological Literature and the Formation of Early Modern Ibero-America


Editors: Thomas Duve and Otto Danwerth
Knowledge of the pragmatici sheds new light on pragmatic normative literature (mainly from the religious sphere), a genre crucial for the formation of normative orders in early modern Ibero-America. Long underrated by legal historical scholarship, these media – manuals for confessors, catechisms, and moral theological literature – selected and localised normative knowledge for the colonial worlds and thus shaped the language of normativity.

The eleven chapters of this book explore the circulation and the uses of pragmatic normative texts in the Iberian peninsula, in New Spain, Peru, New Granada and Brazil. The book reveals the functions and intellectual achievements of pragmatic literature, which condensed normative knowledge, drawing on medieval scholarly practices of ‘epitomisation’, and links the genre with early modern legal culture.

Contributors are: Manuela Bragagnolo, Agustín Casagrande, Otto Danwerth, Thomas Duve, José Luis Egío, Renzo Honores, Gustavo César Machado Cabral, Pilar Mejía, Christoph H. F. Meyer, Osvaldo Moutin, and David Rex Galindo.
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Thomas Duve is Director at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (Frankfurt am Main) and Professor for Comparative Legal History at the Goethe University Frankfurt. His research focuses on the legal history of the early modern age and the modern era.

Otto Danwerth is Head of the editorial department at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (Frankfurt am Main). His research areas are early modern Spain and Ibero-America until the eighteenth century, with a focus on the Andean region.
All interested in the legal history, the history of knowledge and book history in early modern times, especially with regard to colonial Ibero-America.