With a few important exceptions, legal historians have not paid that much attention to the 'material aspect' of legal books over the past few decades. The recent 'methodological thunderstorm' in the field of book studies (e.g. related to the opening of new horizons in the history of reading, the history of audiences, the social history of education and the history of the media) has had a relatively small impact on legal history. Only recently, in fact, have a handful of legal historians showed that the development of early modern legal thinking was not only the product of the intellectual activity of the so-called 'author', but it was also influenced by several other factors and actors related to the development of the printing press. Antonio Manuel Hespanha, for example, clearly expressed the need to bridge the gap between material bibliography and the history of legal thought.
This workshop aims to start 'bridging the gaps' between book historians and legal historians by bringing the two groups into a discussion with one another. Together with Saskia Limbach and Nikolaus Weichselbaumer, we will analyse some fundamental aspects related to early modern book production, circulation and authorship, as well as try to understand how this 'material' approach in working with legal books could be used in legal historical studies.