Barbara Shapiro

Professor Emerita


PhD, Harvard

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Research Interests

Political and legal thought 1500-1700; Intellectual and cultural history, 1500-1700; Early modern legal and political discourse; Science and society, 1500-1700; Tudor and Stuart England; Law Reform in England, 1500-1730



Political Communication and Political Culture in England, 1558-1688 (Stanford University Press, 2012).  


A Culture of Fact: England 1550-1700 (Cornell University Press, 2000).


`Beyond Reasonable Doubt’ and `Probable Cause’: Historical Perspectives on the Anglo American Law of Evidence (University of California Press, 1991)


Probability and Certainty in Seventeenth-Century England: A Study of the Relationships Between Science, Religion, History, Law and Literature (Princeton University Press, 1983)
Awarded prizes by North American Conference on British Studies, and Pacific Coast Branch, of Amer. Historical Association.


English Virtuosi in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, “History and Natural History in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England: An Essay on the Relationship between Humanism and Science,” Co-authored, (Clark Library, 1979).


Editor and Introduction to John Wilkins’ The Discovery of a World on the Moone (1638), (Scholar’s Facsimiles and Reprints, 1973).


John Wilkins 1618-72: An Intellectual Biography (University of California Press, 1968).



” ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt,’ The Neglected Eighteenth Century Context,” Law and Humanities, June, 2014. 

“Oaths, Credibility, and the Legal Process in Early Modern England, Part II,” Law and Humanities, II, 2013, 19-53

“Oaths, Credibility, and the Legal Process in Early Modern England, Part I,” Law and Humanities, 2012

“Beyond Reasonable Doubt: the Evolution of a Concept,” in Fictions of Knowledge: Fact, Evidence, Doubt, ed. Y. Batsake, Subha Mukherji and Jan-Melissa Scharamm (Palgrave-Macmillan, London, 2012, 19-39). 

“Presumption and Circumstantial Evidence in the Anglo-American Legal System,” in The Law of Presumptions: Essays in Comparative Legal History, ed. R. Hemholz and W.D. Sellar, Berlin, 2009, 117-36. 

“Changing Language, Unchanging Standard: From ‘Satisfied Conscience’ to ‘Moral Certainty’ and ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’.” Cardozo Law Review, 2009. 

“The Beyond Reasonable Doubt Doctrine: Moral Comfort or Standard of Proof?” Law and Humanities, 2008, 149-73.

“Political Theology and the Courts: A Survey of Assize Sermons, c 1600-1688,” Law and Humanities, Summer 2008. 

Fact and Proof of Fact in Anglo American Law, in How the Law Knows Ed. Austin Sarat (Stanford, 2007)

Empiricism and English Political Thought 1550-1720, Eighteenth Century Thought 1, (2003).

Religion and the Law: Evidence and Proof and Matter of Fact” in Law, Crime and English Society 1660-1830, ed. Norma Landau, (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

“Testimony in Seventeenth Century England: Legal Origins and Early Development,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science (2002).

“Classical Rhetoric and the English Law of Evidence” in Rhetoric and Law in Early Modern Europe (Yale University Press, 2001).

“Natural Philosophy and Political Periodization: Interregnum, Restoration, Revolution” in A Nation Transformed, Ed. S. Pincus and A. Houston (Cambridge, 2001).

“The Concept ‘Fact:’ Legal Origins and Cultural Diffusion,” 26 Albion, (1994), 227-252.

“Circumstantial Evidence: of Law, Literature and Culture,” Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, 5 (1993), 219-241.

“Early Modern Intellectual Life: Humanism, Religion and Science in Seventeenth-Century England,” History of Science, 29 (1991).

“‘To a Moral Certainty’: Theories of Knowledge and Anglo-American Juries 1600-1850,” Hastings Law Journal, 38 (1986) 153-194.

“Sir Francis Bacon and the Mid-Seventeenth-Century Movement for Law Reform,” American Journal of Legal History, XXIV (1980), 333-362.

“Law Reform in Seventeenth-Century England,” American Journal of Legal History, XIX (1975), 280-312.

“Codification of the Law in Early Modern England,” University of Wisconsin Law Review (June, 1974), 428-465.

“Science, Politics and Religion,” Past and Present 66 (February, 1975), 133-138.

“American Legal History as Interdisciplinary History,” Co-author, Journal of Interdisciplinary History (1974), 611-626.

“The Universities and Science in Seventeenth-Century England,” Journal of British Studies, X (1971), 47-82.

“Science and Law in Seventeenth-Century England,” Stanford Law Review, XXI (1969), 727-766.

“Latitudinarianism and Science in Seventeenth-Century England,” Past and Present 40 (July 1968), 16-41.