The book is an analysis of the cultural and social functions of law, legal processes and legal rituals in late medieval Northern France. It is centered around a time and a place in which European law underwent some major transformations, from a plethora of local oral customs to a fairly coherent system of national, written customary law. In this process, law and legal procedures came to reflect a great variety of cultural traditions, ranging from popular perceptions of animals and the human body to learned ideas of Roman jurisprudence. Drawing upon wide-ranging sources: judicial, legal, literary and historical, Cohen analyzes the various influences upon the shaping of law as a cultural manifestation and its application as an actual system of justice.
About the Author
Esther Cohen is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel. She published numerous articles on popular religion and culture in the middle ages, and on the historical criminology of late medieval France. Publications include: To die a Criminal for the Public Good (1990), Youth and Deviancy in the Middle Ages (1990), and Gift, Payment and the Sacred in the Middle Ages, (1991).