Literacy and the common law: a polytechnical approach to the history of writings of the law
This article proposes a 'polytechnical' approach to the history of writings of law, with specific attention to the written texts of the early common law. Such an approach is differentiated on the one hand from a philosophical anthropology - here associated with the work of Jack Goody - that imputes an inevitable 'rationalising' consequence to writing, both scribal and print. On the other hand, a polytechnical approach is differentiated also from a cultural historicism - here associated with the work of Peter Goodrich - that sets the history of law's writings into a dialectical and critical cast. The literate techniques of the English Jacobean lawyer Thomas Egerton are cited to illustrate why a polytechnical approach offers descriptive and historical advantages as a less normative approach to the history of legal writing systems.
Griffith Law Review