Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 December 2021
H. Patrick Glenn has built his idea of legal traditions, common laws, and the cosmopolitan state by observing the evolution of law. He learned a lot from legal history. But what can legal historians learn from him? In this chapter, I show that his idea of legal traditions as normative information, which has spread into all legal systems in a large recursive process of appropriation and change, can be at least very stimulating for current attempts at a global legal history. The example of the School of Salamanca, which Glenn once described as Hispanic common law and which I will introduce in the first section of this chapter, shows the opportunities, but also the limits of his approach. The latter lie, in particular, in the fact that one can hardly analyse the processes of cultural translation observed without also taking into account praxeological aspects. It is precisely these conditions of the cultural translation of normative information that may have been of particular importance for the development of what Glenn envisioned as a ‘cosmopolitan law’.
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