Dillon, “The Justice of Constantine”

For most church-and-state types, the word “Constantine” is likely to evoke the so-called “Constantinian Compromise,” in which the Christian Church in the late Roman Empire purportedly accepted imperial protection in exchange for subordination.  When he wasn’t convening church councils, though, Constantine had other affairs of state to attend to, including the workings of the Roman legal system. John Noël Dillon (University of Exeter) has a new study of Constantine’s contributions to Roman law, The Justice of Constantine: Law, Communication, and Control (University of Michigan Press 2012). The publisher’s description follows.

As the first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine the Great has long interested those studying the establishment of Christianity. But Constantine is also notable for his ability to control a sprawling empire and effect major changes. The Justice of Constantine examines Constantine’s judicial and Read more

Bradley (ed.), “Challenges to Religious Liberty in the Twenty-First Century”

Here is a terrific collection of essays edited by Gerard V. Bradley (Notre Dame), Challenges to Religious Liberty in the Twenty-First Century (CUP 2012).  The contributors are CLR Forum guest Steve Smith and our friend Rick Garnett, as well as José Casanova, Tom Farr, Daniel Philpott, Christopher Tollefsen, William Inboden, Professor Bradley, and my old mentor and dear friend, Kent Greenawalt.  The publisher’s description follows.

Almost everyone today affirms the importance and merit of religious liberty. But religious liberty is being challenged by new questions (for example, use of the niqab or church adoption services for same-sex couples) and new forces (such as globalization and Islamism). Combined, these make the meaning of religious liberty in the twenty-first century uncertain. This collection of essays by ten of the world’s leading scholars on religious liberty takes aim at these issues. The book is arranged around five specific challenges to religious liberty today: the state’s responsibility to prevent coercion and intimidation of believers by others within the same faith community; the U.S.’s basic moral responsibilities to promote religious liberty abroad; how to understand and apply the traditional right of conscientious objection in today’s circumstances; the distinctive problems presented by globalization; and the viability today of an ‘originalist’ interpretation of the First Amendment religion clauses.

Moreland on Rieff on Normative Institutional Failure

Have a look at our friend Mike Moreland’s post on Philip Rieff’s The Triumph of the Therapeutic.  His description of Rieff’s work as “extraordinary (if highly peculiar)” rang true for me.  I rely on a later work of Rieff’s, Charisma, in this essay.