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Book Chapter

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Some forty years ago, Charlie Donahue created a course which he titled "Law, Morals and Society." Designed for undergraduates, and situated among the offerings of the University of Michigan's interdisciplinary Medieval and Renaissance Collegium, the course reflected the approach to doing history that, as this volume recognizes, Charlie has followed throughout his long and enormously influential career as scholar, teacher, lecturer, and inepressible master of well-timed interventions during conference-panel discussion periods. "LMS" was composed of four units. Charlie, who taught two of them, led off with the legal basis for the deposition of Richard II; I followed with the law of homicide in medieval England; Charlie returned with a unit on the law of maniage; Tom Tentler anchored the relay with the law relating to witchcraft. In each unit, we began with documents that expressed the law involved, and just as the students began to feel comfortable with those documents and the way what they expressed seemingly helped to organize a bit of rhe premodern world, we subjected the law to an investigation based on political, social and cultural contexts that rudely upset initial conceptions of how that bit of the world was organized-of just what constituted the law, and in what way whatever was the law can be said to have gone about its organizing work. A very Charlie sort of course. At the time, I was teaching a seminar on the history of the criminal trial jury in England and America. Jury independence, and even jury nullification, played a large role. Hence my interest in Bushel's Case and, thanks in large part to Charlie, my interest in the light that its context shone on the opinion. So what was its context? A very Charlie sort of question, but I don't recall what Charlie said one ought to do if it didn't appear to have an answer. Surely he didn't advise turning one's musings about it into a Festschrift essay! Mea culpa, Charlie.