Witte on Early Protestant Models of Church, State, and Marriage

From the excellent Oxford Journal of Law and Religion (whose content is still available for free) is this extremely interesting piece by John Witte (Emory), Church, State, and Marriage: Four Early Modern Protestant Models.  The abstract follows.

This article recounts the rise of four early modern Protestant models of marriage that emerged in place of the medieval Catholic sacramental model. These are the Lutheran social model of Germany and Scandinavia, the Calvinist covenantal model of Geneva, France, the Netherlands and Scotland, the Anglican commonwealth model of England and its colonies and the budding separationist model of John Locke. Theologically, the differences between these models can be traced to the genesis of these models respectively in medieval Catholic sacramental theology, Lutheran two kingdoms doctrines, Calvinist covenantal constructions, Anglican commonwealth theory and Lockean contractarian theories, respectively. Politically, these differences can be seen in shifts in marital jurisdiction. Medieval Catholics vested exclusive marital jurisdiction in the church. Anglicans left marital jurisdiction to church courts, subject to royal oversight and Parliamentary legislation. Calvinists assigned interlocking marital roles to local consistories and city councils. Lutherans consigned primary marital jurisdiction to the territorial prince or urban council. Locke pressed for a sharper separation of church and state in the governance of marriage. The Article concludes with a brief reflection of the implications of the Lockean synthesis for modern contests over marriage law and its governance.

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