Saturday, April 12, 2008
Goodrich on Druids and Common Lawyers
Posted by Mary L. Dudziak
Peter Goodrich, Cardozo Law School, has a new article, Druids and Common Lawyers: Notes on the Pythagoras Complex and Legal Education. It appears in Law and Humanities, Vol. 1, No. 1. Here's the abstract: The long haired Pythagoras is an unlikely figure after to whom to name a complex specific to common lawyers. Ironically, however, the mythical figure of Pythagoras "and his school" was one of the most often declared sources of the distinctiveness of common law. His followers, the Druids, were the first lawyers in Anglia - specifically, the dark island - and the strange sacrificial and mystagogic practices of the Druid law givers founded the early rites of the tradition of unwritten law. Using the humanistic technique of history and reminiscence, this article traces the idiosyncracies of the pythagorean philosophy: the refusal to put law in writing, the use of hieroglyphs, the dependence upon oracular judgment, the belief in multiple lives, askesis and akousmata, and places them at the root of what is most emblematically common law.