In March, Ashgate published The Last Judgment: Christian Ethics in a Legal Culture by Andrew Skotnicki (Manhattan College). The publisher’s description follows.
In a culture obsessed with law, judgment, and violence, this book challenges Christians to remember that Jesus urged his followers to judge no one, bring harm upon no one, and follow no law save the law of altruistic love. It traces Christian history first to show that Christians of an earlier age took very seriously the gospel injunctions against punitive legal judgment and then how the advent of formal legal codes and philosophical dualism undermined that perspective to create a division between a private Christian spirituality and a public morality of order and legally sanctioned violence. This historical approach is accompanied by an argument that the recovery of a Christian ethic based upon unconditional love and forgiveness cannot be accomplished without the renewal of a Christian spirituality that mirrors the contemplative spirituality of Jesus.
From SSRN’s list of most frequently downloaded law and religion papers posted in the last 60 days, here are the current top five:
1. God and the Profits: Is There Religious Liberty for Money-Makers? by Mark Rienzi (Catholic U. of America – Columbus School of Law) [230 downloads]
2. Suffer the Teenage Children: Child Sexual Abuse in Church Communities by Patrick Parkinson (U. of Sydney – Faculty of Law) [224 downloads]
3. Rethinking Religious Reasons in Public Justification by Andrew F. March (Yale U.) [196 downloads]
4. The Causes and Cures of Unethical Business Practices – A Jewish Perspective by Steven H. Resnicoff (DePaul U. College of Law) [157 downloads]
5. Bankrupting the Faith by Pamela Foohey (U. of Illinois College of Law) [139 downloads]
Joseph S. Jenkins (U. of California, Irvine) has posted Copyright Law and Political Theology: Censorship and the Forebear’s Desire. The abstract follows. NB: The article is behind a paywall on JStor.
This historical exploration, treating limit moments of copyright law, illuminates correspondences among copyright, censorship, pacts between the sovereign and commercial profit seekers, and inheritance law. Relevant to all of these are powerful forebears’ desires for recognition, modeled on the theological pattern of the father God’s omnipotent Will. Failure to recognize the wide persistence of this premodern theological pattern–which contrasts considerably with the common view that copyrights main function is to incentivize the new–may result in faulty analysis of copyright law, including fair use.
The study begins with Henry VIII’s 1538 Proclamation, which initiates a nationwide book-licensing regime. The Proclamation is put into context with other concerns of Henry at that time. Additional moments treated in this study include: Venetian printing privileges in the late fifteenth century; the London Stationers’ Company as an incorporated mechanism suitable to the crown’s ideology-control projects; efforts by Ponsonby, Greville, and Walsingham to block a competitor’s licensing of a Sidney Arcadia manuscript; the intellectual property clause of the U.S. Constitution; Wordsworth’s later-in-life attempts to make endure eternally, through copyright, the atemporal moment of creation that arose from his early poetry; and Sonny Bono’s (and our own) surprising resemblance to Wordsworth. The conclusion urges joint consideration of copyright and inheritance-law policies.