Re: literacy

From: donald_at_xU9aGM0wTxyZiyu2qEZMbB-VIdo_-7NsbS1BAo1-QLYbs94ZfKmbXdpz_S-SmOKai6tNy
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 23:17:35 +0100

Andrew E. Larsen:

> On the other hand, think about the whole idea of Lawspeaking, as opposed to Law.
> The whole idea of lawspeaking emphasizes that this is a pre-literate society, in which the
> focus is on speaking the memorized law and bringing the parties involved into some sort
> of consensus, whereas more literate societies think in terms of law are a written text
> whose details can be wrangled over. Almost all the features of Sartarite society seem to
> speak more to a preliterate people than a semi-literate one, to me at least.

Or a society stuck in the transitional stage. Literacy is restricted to a religious elite who do not share it. So the ordinary people have more confidence in the lawspeaker who has memorised the law as it applies in the clan than they do in some marks on parchment which have to be interpreted by someone. I can see some lawspeakers having scrolls for reference on obscure matters but they still act as if they were working from memory.

Donald Oddy


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