"The Midwives and Morticians of Puritan Jurisprudence: The Law of Early Massachusetts in History and Historiography"
Richard J. Ross; Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis
October 26, 2000, 3:30-5:30pm, Newberry Library
For the last several decades, legal historians of early Massachusetts have debated to what extent was there a distinctive “Puritan jurisprudence” in the seventeenth century? What aspects of the colony’s institutions, doctrines, and legal culture could be grouped under this rubric? This paper charts the content, ambiguities, and transformation of the idea of Puritan jurisprudence. It first recounts the regnant model of Puritan jurisprudence that has evolved since the 1960s, focusing on such matters as Biblicism, the pursuit of a godly community through the law, and a commitment to communalist forms of dispute settlement. Second, it looks at historiographical challenges to this model. Third, it explores to what extent colonial contemporaries thought that they built a “New England Way” in law as well as religion? The title of the essay tries to capture two different ways in which the concept of Puritan jurisprudence coalesced and underwent challenge: first, in history (how colonial New Englanders belatedly and under pressure came to think of their legal order as distinctive); and second, historiographically (how scholars have created competing understandings of that legal order).
The seminar format assumes participants have read the paper in advance. Papers are precirculated electronically whenever possible. To receive a paper contact Catherine Clement by e-mail or phone (listed below).
Dr. Wm. M. Scholl Center for Family and Community History
The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610
phone: (312) 255-3524
fax: (312) 255-3696 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)