Now in its 20th year of publication, the latest issue of Rechtsgeschichte – Legal History (Journal of the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory) once again brings together outstanding research contributions on legal historical topics as well as a considerable number of wide-ranging reviews.
This year’s Research section begins with Elizabeth Papp Kamali’s study on the consequences of the excessive consumption of alcohol in medieval English criminal law. Jan Schröder offers a close analysis of the sources to investigate the meaning of words in early modern legal and linguistic theories. The editors of the four-volume Handbuch zur Geschichte der Konfliktlösung in Europa – Handbook on the History of Conflict Resolution in Europe (Peter Collin, Wim Decock, Nadine Grotkamp, David von Mayenburg, Anna Seelentag) explain the conceptualisation underlying this standard reference work (published in 2021), and provide a brief overview of some of the overall patterns and findings emerging from this major project.
The Focus sections cover two fields of modern legal history from an international perspective. Karl Härter and Valeria Vegh Weis provide a substantial introduction to the topics discussed in the Focus on Transnational Criminal Law in Transatlantic Perspective (1870–1945), which comprises contributions by three authors (Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, Nicolás Duffau, Paul Knepper) who particularly explore Latin American dimensions. The second Focus is dedicated to the complex field of labour law history and includes studies from both German and British researchers (Gerd Bender, Rebecca Zahn, Thorsten Keiser, Martin Otto, Johanna Wolf, Tim-Niklas Vesper, Benjamin Spendrin, Matthias Ebbertz).
As always, the reviews in this edition cover a broad spectrum of regions and epochs, ranging from the cuneiform transmission of the Codex Hammurabi to a three-volume history of Chinese legal culture and the European banking union – and for the first time also includes reviews of digital source editions. Finally, two Marginalia on the visualisation of law conclude this volume – and they could not be more different: Erk Volkmar Heyen’s contribution investigates the figuration of iustitia in the context of the political aspects of Marian devotion in the early 16th century. Daniel Damler, on the other hand, takes the reader into the dark canyons of Batman’s hometown Gotham City. This last contribution also inspired this year’s atmospheric picture series of black-and-white photographs of New York City by Otto Danwerth.
Rechtsgeschichte – Legal History 30 is now available in print from the publisher Vittorio Klostermann and online in Open Access via the journal’s website.