The Crossroads of Justice: Law and Culture in Late Medieval France

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BRILL, 1993 - 231 pages
The book is an analysis of the cultural and social functions of law, legal processes and legal rituals in late medieval Northern France. It is centered around a time and a place in which European law underwent some major transformations, from a plethora of local oral customs to a fairly coherent system of national, written customary law. In this process, law and legal procedures came to reflect a great variety of cultural traditions, ranging from popular perceptions of animals and the human body to learned ideas of Roman jurisprudence. Drawing upon wide-ranging sources: judicial, legal, literary and historical, Cohen analyzes the various influences upon the shaping of law as a cultural manifestation and its application as an actual system of justice.
 

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Contents

The Reality of Medieval Law and Its Myths
15
The Reality of Late Medieval French Law and Its Myths
27
RITUALS
54
Folklore and Symbolic Functions in Medieval Legal Rituals
74
Women and Jews
85
The Dead
134
THE CONTEXT OF AUTHORITY
146
Rituals of Infamy
162
Public Executions
181
Conclusion
202
Bibliography
209
Index
223
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Esther Cohen is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel. She published numerous articles on popular religion and culture in the middle ages, and on the historical criminology of late medieval France. Publications include: "To die a Criminal for the Public Good" (1990), "Youth and Deviancy in the Middle Ages" (1990), and "Gift, Payment and the Sacred in the Middle Ages," (1991).

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