Questions about Regiam
The related question here is: for what purpose Regiam? In his article of 1984 (where the symbolic 'work-of-art' position was put forward), Alan Harding was specific: the work was not intended to be a practical manual. Its symbolic content was what mattered. Just possibly, this position was to stymie the thorny issue of use and intended use which had governed conversation. Why choose Glanvill as the basis of a text on Scottish law? And if so, why is there no reference to material from the later English legal treatise, Bracton? Why, in the context of known Scottish procedural remedies for recovery of title, was there not more use of Scottish procedures and writ formulae themselves?
In addition, why did Regiam have such an unfinished feel? Indeed, in 1961, Archie Duncan had contrasted the heavily edited sections of book I and up to c.12 of book II with the seeming mess of the later treatise. He had interpreted this as showing that the compiler was 'interrupted at his task'? But, by then, the compiler's task had already included 'Scotticizing' Regiam and extracting an (in context) very small passages from Goffredus's Summa, as well as including substantial Scottish statutory material. So, if he was interrupted, why was he interrupted, and why did the work not continue in the same style if it was intended to be a practical manual? These questions were, if not removed, at least put to one side, when Harding put forward his argument: the content was not the point, what mattered was the existence. So, if the compiler was interrupted, then it didn't matter that what came after was a mess - enough had been done to provide an impractical but symbolically powerful impression of a corpus of ancient Scottish law.
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