Legal History as a History of the Translation of Knowledge of Normativity

No. 2022-16

In the last few years, the research at the Department “Historical Regimes of Normativity” at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory has increasingly been guided by two conceptual ideas: the analysis of “legal history as a history of the translation of knowledge of normativity” and the integration of these findings into an analytical framework called “Historical Regimes of Normativity”. The understanding of “legal history as an observation of Historical Regimes of Normativity” is explained in a separate working paper (mpilhlt research paper series N°. 2022-17). This paper consists of five parts. In a first part, I sketch out in a very general way our understanding of legal history as a history of the translation of knowledge of normativity (I.). I then introduce the legal-theoretical foundations of this perspective (II.) and explain some advantages of speaking of “knowledge of normativity” and not of “law” and “legal knowledge” (III.). In the fourth part, I summarize some intellectual opportunities of using the concept of (cultural) translation (IV.). In the epilogue, I connect this paper with the paper on "Historical Regimes of Normativity" (V.).

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