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How does religious normative knowledge spread throughout the world? How is such normative knowledge translated, adapted and regionalized in particular geographical domains? In this video, THOMAS DUVE analyzes the processes by which normative knowledge is globalized and localized with a specific focus on religious knowledge. Focusing on places that came into contact with the Iberian empires in the early modern period, Duve argues that our understanding of epistemic communities like the celebrated School of Salamanca requires serious reconsideration. The work also presents an important reassessment of the types of sources to be used by legal historians, highlighting the vital insights provided by so-called pragmatic texts, those texts employed by practitioners on a daily basis.


Thomas Duve is Director at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History and Professor of Comparative Legal History at Goethe University Frankfurt. Between 2005 and 2010, he held Professorships in the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Canon Law at Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA). His main research interests include the history of canon law, moral theology and global historical perspectives on European legal history. Duve is the editor of the journal Rechtsgeschichte – Legal History and the books series Studien zur europäischen Rechtsgeschichte as well as the founding editor of the Max Planck Institute book series Global Perspectives on Legal History.


Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory

The Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory considers its most important task to consist in engaging in theoretically reflected historical research in the field of law and other forms of normativity in order to make a specific contribution to the fundamental research in legal scholarship, the social sciences and historical humanities. The Institute’s research examines law, its constitution, legitimation, transformation and practice. Particular attention is paid to the positioning of historical forms of ‘law’ in the context of other normative orders. The establishment of a department engaged in developing a multidisciplinary legal theory in 2020 substantially expands the Institute's engagement with issues of legal theory.

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Original publication

Internationalisierung und Transnationalisierung der Rechtswissenschaft

Duve Thomas
Published in 2015

Global Legal History: Setting Europe in Perspective

Duve Thomas
The Oxford Handbook of European Legal History
Published in 2018

Global Legal History – A Methodological Approach

Duve Thomas
Max Planck Institute for European Legal History Research Paper Series
Published in 2016