Juridifications and religion in early modern Europe: The challenge of a contextual history of law
- Cite this article as:
- Saunders, D. Law and Critique (2004) 15: 99. doi:10.1023/B:LACQ.0000035034.54275.fd
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To end Europe's great cycle of religious wars, some early modern states imposed a secular ‘rule of law’ in spheres of life previously governed by religion. The following essay compares two instances of this basic fact of seventeenth-century European political history, one German and the other English. In these different religious and political settings, different juridifications were undertaken that do not reduce to manifestations of a single underlying process of social change. Considered in a legal-historical light, early modern juridifications therefore invite a clear disciplinary alternative to the socio-theoretical and socio-critical perspective on juridification associated with Jürgen Habermas. The larger challenge on behalf of legal history is to end the subordination of historical method to critical social theory.