Chapter ID: CBB760620735

The Language of the Law: The Lübeck Law Codes (ca. 1224–1642) (2019)


Cordes, Albrecht (Author)

Pages: 137-162
Publication date: 2019
Language: English

The conference set out to examine the contribution of merchants and their language to “The making of commercial law”. We wanted to understand the influence of travelling merchants and changes of language, assuming that both factors have produced fertile soil for new concepts of commercial law. My article focusses on the latter, the language changes, and chooses the written language of the Lübeck law as case study. Its oldest sources are in Latin. But already after a few decades Latin replaced by Low German (shortly before 1270). In the 16th century High German superseded the local Low German dialect, and when the jurists of the 17th century wrote about the Ius lubecense Latin was in use again. The paper examines two questions: Why did these language changes occur, and more importantly, how did the law change when expressed with the help of another language? All translation changes the content of the translated text to a certain degree, and this is especially true for translations of legal writings. The paper studies changes in the meaning of words and asks if certain languages were better adapted than others for expressing the complicated issues of commercial law. A few significant examples from the sources shall be scrutinized closely. The larger context of the text production is equally important. Who was able to master the old and the new language? Can we witness a process of professionalization? How did the horizon change once the new language was used; who were the groups of people who could participate in the discourse about the law?

Included in

Book Stefania Gialdroni; Dauchy, Serge,; Cordes, Albrecht (2020) Migrating words, migrating merchants, migrating law: trading routes and the development of commercial law. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Wixforth, Harald
Albrecht, Peter
Donzé, Pierre-Yves
Galambos, Louis
Kocka, Jürgen
Krebs, Stefan
Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Business and Economic History On-Line
Business History Review
Economic History Review
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Bentley Publishers
Berghahn Books
Wallstein Verlag
Business and commerce
Business history
Commercial law
Cross-national interaction
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Bourdieu, Pierre
Wüst, Fritz
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
16th century
17th century
18th century
United States
Imperatorskii Institut Eksperimental'noi Meditsiny v Sankt-Peterburge
Merck & Co.
Merck (E.), firm
Norddeutscher Lloyd

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