Interpretation and Meaning in the Renaissance: The Case of Law

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This book examines Renaissance modes of interpretation as they arise in legal contexts, and relates them to modern debates about meaning and its determination. By placing legal hermeneutic theories in their institutional and pedagogical contexts, the author is able to give an account of Renaissance thought showing how it operates in its own terms, and in relation to the thought of the medieval period. Renaissance legal thought is also compared to modern discussions of interpretation, allowing a critical examination of its coherence and consistency.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" must recognize the achievement of this book in restoring the field of Renaissance jurisprudence once more within the bounds of intellectual history, especially at a time that has largely forgotten how vast the sea of the oceanus iuris is; and at a number of points at issue he has thrown clearer light on both contemporary theories of language and those of the Renaissance." Sixteenth Century Journal

"Maclean has written a remarkably learned and penetrating study of legal interpretation." Times Literary Supplement

"This is a concise, difficult, but very clearly-written and well-structured book which wastes scarcely a word....Maclean provides an excellent introduction to the Humanist movement in legal studies, and its relationship with what went before and what came after." The Times Higher Education Supplement

"Maclean's careful application of humanist pedagogical principles, textual concerns, historical context, and rhetorical emphasis makes his work a valuable addition to the study of the influence of humanism on the intellectual institutions of the Renaissance." Canadian Journal of History

"...provides an effortlessly erudite reading of the doctrinal development of theories of juridical interpretation." Law and History Review

"Ian Maclean's wide-ranging and probing study explores how Renaissance jurists understood the task of legal interpretation and what explicit or implicit theories about language, signification, and meaning informed their undertaking." Charles L. Stinger, American Historical Review

"He succeeds through scrupulous attention to his critical stance, careful consideration of the interplay between text and context, and thorough mastery of the primary materials....The result is a fine, if somewhat disturbing, book that is both important and suggestive. It is important in that it brings to light, as it sets out to, a body of texts that produces ample yield. It is suggestive in that it alerts us, as do all good books, to the possibilities for similar studies of other eras and other disciplines." Sean Patrick O'Rourke, Rhetorica

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521415460
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Series: Ideas in Context Series, #21
  • Pages: 253
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Notes on the presentation of the text; Introduction; 1. Contexts; 2. Interpretation and the arts course; 3. Theories of interpretation and meaning; 4. Parallels and examples; Conclusion; Bibliography of primary sources; Index of citations from the Corpus Juris Civilis; Index of names; Index of terms.

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