Pragmatic Normative Literature and the Production of Normative Knowledge in the Early Modern Iberian Empires in the 16th–17th Centuries
DUVE, THOMAS, OTTO DANWERTH (Eds.), Knowledge of the pragmatici: Legal and Moral Theological Literature and the Formation of Early Modern Ibero-America, vol. 1, Leiden: Brill (2020, Forthcoming)
32 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2019 Last revised: 15 Feb 2020
Date Written: July 15, 2019
This introductory chapter aims to show the role of ‘pragmatic normative literature’ in the historical regime of knowledge production in the early modern Iberian Empires during the 16th and 17th centuries and to define this literary genre in the light of this function. It starts with an attempt to present the legal history of the Iberian empires as part of a legal tradition that can be understood as a huge diachronic process of intertextuality, a long history of reiterative acts of translating normative information into normative knowledge. It outlines why normative knowledge produced by religious actors was of overwhelming significance within the knowledge economy of the 16th- and 17th-century Iberian empires and how practical theology, normative practices and pragmatic literature were intertwined. From this reconstruction of certain fundamental characteristics, it is possible to suggest a definition of ‘pragmatic normative literature’, to summarise the current state of research on the media that comprised this genre and to conclude with some remarks on why pragmatic literature might have been of special significance for governing an empire.
Keywords: Legal History, Moral Theology, History of Knowledge, Colonial Latin America, History of Legal Books
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