Reading Group: Drafting Magna Carta

Tuesday 21 October, 2014, 1-2 pm
Stephen Boyd Room, Kennedy Hall, School of English 

John Hudson, Professor of Legal History at the University of St Andrews, will lead a reading group entitled ‘Drafting Magna Carta’.

This reading group will involve a close comparison of the famous Magna Carta of 1215 and a preceding set of demands known as The Articles of the Barons. Drawing on these texts, we will consider issues of the minutiae of drafting, of these and other documents; the composers of the Charter; and political thought.

The texts for the reading group Latin texts of Magna Carta and the Articles of the Barons, colour coded to show the differences between them; and translations of the two documents, unfortunately not colour coded.  Attendees should look at the texts in advance.

The colour code is:
Red – clause unique to one of the two documents
Blue – rephrasing of part of or whole clause
Green – Minor (e.g. grammatical) change to one wond
Black – common to both documents
Purple – a single word in one document replaced by another word in the other
Texts can be accessed here:

Professor Hudson’s research interests began with law and land-holding in twelfth-century England, and this subject has remained central to much of his subsequent work, leading up to his recent volume of The Oxford History of the Laws of England, 871-1216 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).  Some of his legal history work plays with the applicability to mediaeval situations of ideas from modern legal theory; this work is furthered by his visiting association with the University of Michigan Law School, where he enjoys the title of William W. Cook Global Law Professor. He has two other main areas of research interest –  one is mediaeval historical writing, mostly in England, and the other is nineteenth-century writing on the Middle Ages, and in particular the work of the greatest of legal historians, F. W. Maitland.


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