Law Like Love?

It may seem a little strange to say it this way, given the fact that Christianity has been dealing with the subject for 2000 years, but lately the global legal academy has begun to show interest in Christian jurisprudence. Marc has written a couple of posts about the phenomenon, and our latest Legal Spirits podcast discusses it as well–specifically, what Marc has taken to calling the “Australian School.” Here is a new, interesting-looking collection of essays on Christian jurisprudence from Routledge, Christianity, Ethics, and the Law: The Concept of Love in Christian Legal Thought, edited by Zachary Calo (Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar), Joshua Neoh (Australian National University), and A. Keith Thompson (University of Notre Dame, Australia). The Australian School seems very much in evidence. The essays focus on how the central Christian virtue of love can influence law and legal philosophy:

This book examines how Christian love can inform legal thought. The work introduces love as a way to advance the emergent conversation between constructive theology and jurisprudence that will also inform conversations in philosophy and political theory.

Love is the central category for Christian ethical understanding. Yet, the growing field of law and religion, and relatedly law and theology, rarely addresses how love can shape our understanding of law. This reflects, in part, a common assumption that law and love stand in necessary tension. Love applies to the private and the personal. Law, by contrast, applies to the public and the political, realms governed by power. It is thus a mistake to envisage love as having anything but a negative relationship to law. This conclusion continues to govern Christian understandings of the meaning and vocation of law. The animating idea of this volume is that the concept of love can and should inform Christian legal thought. The project approaches this task from the perspective of both historical and constructive theology. Various contributions examine how such thinkers as Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin utilised love in their legal thought. These essays highlight often neglected aspects of the Christian tradition. Other contributions examine Christian love in light of contemporary legal topics including civility, forgiveness, and secularism. Love, the book proposes, not only matters for law but can transform the terms on which Christians understand and engage it.

The book will be of interest to academics and researchers working in the areas of legal theory; law and religion; law and philosophy; legal history; theology and religious studies; and political theory.

On Law and Love

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor,” the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans; “therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” We close out this year’s book notes with a collection of essays that explores the meaning of this Biblical admonition. Next week, Routledge releases Christianity, Ethics and the Law: The Concept of Love in Christian Legal Thought. The editors are law professors Zachary Calo (Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar), Joshua Neoh (Australian National University), and A. Keith Thompson (University of Notre Dame Australia). Looks very interesting. Here’s the publisher’s description:

This book examines how Christian love can inform legal thought. The work introduces love as a way to advance the emergent conversation between constructive theology and jurisprudence that will also inform conversations in philosophy and political theory.

Love is the central category for Christian ethical understanding. Yet, the growing field of law and religion, and relatedly law and theology, rarely addresses how love can shape our understanding of law. This reflects, in part, a common assumption that law and love stand in necessary tension. Love applies to the private and the personal. Law, by contrast, applies to the public and the political, realms governed by power. It is thus a mistake to envisage love as having anything but a negative relationship to law. This conclusion continues to govern Christian understandings of the meaning and vocation of law. The animating idea of this volume is that the concept of love can and should inform Christian legal thought. The project approaches this task from the perspective of both historical and constructive theology. Various contributions examine how such thinkers as Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin utilised love in their legal thought. These essays highlight often neglected aspects of the Christian tradition. Other contributions examine Christian love in light of contemporary legal topics including civility, forgiveness, and secularism. Love, the book proposes, not only matters for law but can transform the terms on which Christians understand and engage it.

The book will be of interest to academics and researchers working in the areas of legal theory; law and religion; law and philosophy; legal history; theology and religious studies; and political theory.

Osiel on Law and Morality

9780674368255-lgIn my comparative law class recently, we were discussing Western positivism, particularly the idea that law is autonomous–something that exists independently from morality, or religion, or politics. As law professor Mark Osiel (Iowa) explains in a new book from Harvard, The Right to Do Wrong: Morality and the Limits of Law, the autonomy of law depends on the existence of other ways of enforcing social values, and we do have lots of those. Perhaps it’s better to rely on these non-legal enforcement mechanisms than on the legal system–too much law can lead to tyranny. On the other hand, recent episodes show us that non-legal enforcement mechanisms bring their own dangers. Social media offers ways of policing society that most totalitarians in history could only imagine. Anyway, the book looks very interesting. Here’s the description from the Harvard website:

Much of what we could do, we shouldn’t—and we don’t. We have a free-speech right to be offensive, but we know we will face outrage in response. We may declare bankruptcy, but not without stigma. Moral norms constantly demand more of us than the law requires, sustaining promises we can legally break and preventing disrespectful behavior the law allows.

Mark Osiel takes up this curious interplay between lenient law and restrictive morality, showing that law permits much wrongdoing because we assume that rights are paired with informal but enforceable duties. People will exercise their rights responsibly or else face social shaming. For the most part, this system has worked. Social order persists despite ample opportunity for reprehensible conduct, testifying to the decisive constraints common morality imposes on the way we exercise our legal prerogatives. The Right to Do Wrong collects vivid case studies and social scientific research to explore how resistance to the exercise of rights picks up where law leaves off and shapes the legal system in turn. Building on recent evidence that declining social trust leads to increasing reliance on law, Osiel contends that as social changes produce stronger assertions of individual rights, it becomes more difficult to depend on informal tempering of our unfettered freedoms.

Social norms can be indefensible, Osiel recognizes. But the alternative—more repressive law—is often far worse. This empirically informed study leaves little doubt that robust forms of common morality persist and are essential to the vitality of liberal societies.

“Christianity and Natural Law” (Doe, ed.)

9781107186446Within Christian thought, natural law is typically seen as a Catholic concept, indeed, as a concept that distinguishes Catholicism from other Christian communions, like Orthodoxy and Protestantism–the former of which rejects natural law as too cerebral and the latter as too optimistic, given fallen human nature. A new collection of essays from Cambridge University Press, Christianity and Natural Law: An Introduction, examines the place of natural law in the differing Christian traditions and attempts something of a synthesis–a jurisprudence of Christian law itself. The collection is edited by Cardiff University law professor Norman Doe, from whose scholarship I have benefitted in the past. Looks interesting. Here is the description from the publisher’s website:

Historically, natural law has played a pivotal role in Christian approaches to the law, and a contested role in legal philosophy generally. However, comparative study of natural law across global Christian traditions is largely neglected. This book provides not only the history of natural law ideas across mainstream Christian traditions worldwide, but also an ecumenical comparison of the contemporary natural law positions of different traditions. Its focus is not solely theoretical: it tests the practical utility of natural law by exploring its use in the legal systems of the churches studied. Alongside analysis of the assumptions underlying the concept, it also proposes a jurisprudence of Christian law itself. With chapters written by distinguished lawyers and theologians across the world, this book is designed for those studying and teaching law or theology, those who practice and study ecumenism, and those involved in the practice of church law.

Kaveny, “Ethics at the Edges of Law”

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:

9780190612290Ethics 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.

 

Birge, “Marriage and the Law in the Age of Khubilai Khan”

In June, the Harvard University Press will release “Marriage and the Law in the Age of Khubilai Khan: Cases from the Yuan dianzhang,” by Bettine Birge (University of Southern California).  The publisher’s description follows:

The Mongol conquest of China in the thirteenth century and Khubilai Khan’s founding of the Yuan dynasty brought together under one government people of 9780674975514-lgdifferent languages, religions, and social customs. Chinese law evolved rapidly to accommodate these changes, as reflected in the great compendium Yuan dianzhang (Statutes and Precedents of the Yuan Dynasty). The records of legal cases contained in this seminal text, Bettine Birge shows, paint a portrait of medieval Chinese family life—and the conflicts that arose from it—that is unmatched by any other historical source.

Marriage and the Law in the Age of Khubilai Khan reveals the complex, sometimes contradictory inner workings of the Mongol-Yuan legal system, seen through the prism of marriage disputes in chapter eighteen of the Yuan dianzhang, which has never before been translated into another language. The text includes court testimony—recorded in the vivid vernacular of people from all social classes—in lawsuits over adultery, divorce, rape, wife-selling, marriages of runaway slaves, and other conflicts. It brings us closer than any other source to the actual Mongolian speech of Khubilai and the great khans who succeeded him as they struggled to reconcile very different Mongol, Muslim, and Chinese legal traditions and confront the challenges of ruling a diverse polyethnic empire.

Alidadi, “Religion, Equality and Employment in Europe”

In June, Hart Publishing will release “Religion, Equality and Employment in Europe: The Case for Reasonable Accommodation,” by Katayoun Alidadi (Bryant University).  The publisher’s description follows:

The management of religious and ideological diversity remains a key challenge of our time, deeply entangled with debates about the nature of liberal democracy, 9781509911387equality, social cohesion, minorities and nationalism, foreign policy and even terrorism. This book explores this challenge at the level of the workplace in Europe. People do not surrender their religion of belief at the gates of the workplace, nor should they be required to do so. But what are the limits of accommodating religious belief in the work place, particularly when it clashes with other fundamental rights and freedoms? Using a comparative and socio-legal approach that emphasises the practical role of human rights, anti-discrimination and employment protection, this book argues for an enforceable right to reasonable accommodation on the grounds of religion or belief in the workplaces in Europe. In so doing, it draws on the case law of Europe’s two supranational courts, three country studies–Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK–as well as developments in the US and Canada. By offering the first book-length treatment of the issue, it will be of significant interest to academics, policy-makers and students interested in a deeper understanding of European and Western inclusion, freedom and equality in a multicultural context.

Thomassen, “British Multiculturalism and the Politics of Representation”

In April, Oxford University Press releases “British Multiculturalism and the Politics of Representation,” by Lasse Thomassen (Queen Mary, University of London).  The publisher’s description follows:

Lasse Thomassen argues that the politics of inclusion and identity should be viewed as struggles over how these identities are represented. He centres thislogoargument through careful analysis of cases from the last four decades of British multiculturalism.

Uses a fresh, poststructuralist approach to reconcile the theoretical and practical issues surrounding inclusion and exclusion – a rare example of how poststructuralism can speak to mainstream concerns and theory

Opens up debates and themes including Britishness, race, the ature and role of Islam in British society, homelessness and social justice

Case studies include public debates about the role of religion in British society; Prime MInisters Gordon Brown and David Cameron>’s contrasting versions of Britishness; legal cases about religious symbols and clothing in schools; and the Nick Hornby novel How to Be Good – most of which have never been covered in such detail before

Examines a number of legal cases: ‘The Queen on the application of Sarika Angel Watkins-Singh v. The Governing Body of Aberdare Girls’ High School and Rhondda Cynon Taf Unitary Authority’, High Court, 2008; ‘Playfoot (a minor), R (on the application of) v Millais School’ High Court 2007; ‘X v Y’, High Court, 2007; and ‘Mandla and another v Dowell Lee and another’, House of Lords, 1983

“Great Christian Jurists in English History” (Helmholz & Hill, eds.)

In May, the Cambridge University Press will release “Great Christian Jurists in English History,” edited by Mark Hill (FTB Chambers) and R. H. Helmholz (University of Chicago).  The publisher’s description follows:

The Great Christian Jurists series comprises a library of national volumes of detailed biographies of leading jurists, judges and practitioners, assessing the impact of their 9781107190559Christian faith on the professional output of the individuals studied. Little has previously been written about the faith of the great judges who framed and developed the English common law over centuries, but this unique volume explores how their beliefs were reflected in their judicial functions. This comparative study, embracing ten centuries of English law, draws some remarkable conclusions as to how Christianity shaped the views of lawyers and judges. Adopting a long historical perspective, this volume also explores the lives of judges whose practice in or conception of law helped to shape the Church, its law or the articulation of its doctrine.

“Great Christian Jurists in English History” (Helmholz & Hill, eds.)

In May, Cambridge University Press will release Great Christian Jurists in English History edited by R.H. Helmholz (University of Chicago) and Mark Hill (FTB Chambers). The publisher’s description follows:

cambridge upThe Great Christian Jurists series comprises a library of national volumes of detailed biographies of leading jurists, judges and practitioners, assessing the impact of their Christian faith on the professional output of the individuals studied. Little has previously been written about the faith of the great judges who framed and developed the English common law over centuries, but this unique volume explores how their beliefs were reflected in their judicial functions. This comparative study, embracing ten centuries of English law, draws some remarkable conclusions as to how Christianity shaped the views of lawyers and judges. Adopting a long historical perspective, this volume also explores the lives of judges whose practice in or conception of law helped to shape the Church, its law or the articulation of its doctrine.