Later this year, Oxford University Press will publish a new book by lawyer and theologian Cathleen Kaveny, the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor of Law and Theology at Boston College. Professor Kavey presented her work at the inaugural session of our Center’s Colloquium in Law and Religion in 2012, and her new book, Ethics at the Edges of Law: Christian Moralists and American Legal Thought, looks very interesting indeed. Here’s the description from the Oxford website:
Ethics at the Edges of Law makes the case that religious moralists should treat the discipline of law as a valuable conversation partner, rather than reducing it to a vehicle for enforcing judgments about morality and public policy. Religious moralists should treat the secular law as a source of moral wisdom and conceptual insight, in the same way that they treat the discipline of philosophy. Cathleen Kaveny develops her argument by showing how the work of a range of important contemporary figures in Christian ethics, including John Noonan, Stanley Hauerwas, and Margaret Farley, can be enriched and illuminated by engagement with particular aspects of the American legal tradition. The book is divided into three parts: Part I, “Narratives and Norms,” examines how the workings of the legal tradition can shed light on the development of religious and moral traditions. Part II, “Love, Justice, and Law,” uses particular legal cases and controversies to advance questions about the relationship of love and justice in Christian ethics. Part III, “Legal Categories and Theological Problems,” shows how legal categories and concepts can help reframe and even resolve particular moral controversies within religious communities. Ethics at the Edges of Law jumpstarts a fruitful, mutually engaged conversation between the American legal tradition and the tradition of Christian ethics.