The Word and the Law
James Boyd White
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Law School
February 25, 2009
Georgia Law Review, Vol. 41, p. 923, 2007
U of Michigan Public Law Working Paper No. 143
I begin with an analysis of Ball, The Word and the Law, which combines, in an extraordinary way, law, theology, and literature. In each case Ball defines the text or discipline as placing a responsibility upon the member of the relevant community -- the reader, the writer -- not simply to replicate what the text seems to require, but to create meanings of his or her own out of the material offered. I show this responsibility might be discharged in each of the three fields through a reading of chapter 6 of the Gospel of John, through consideration of the process of legal interpretation, and through an analysis of a recent play by Francois Ost, Antigone Voilee (which places the problem of Sophocles' Antigone in a new context, that of the dispute in francophone Europe over rules prohibiting schoolgirls from wearing the veil required by their religion).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: Theology, legal interpretation, law and literature, law and humanities, Gospel of John, Sophocles' Antigone, Ost, Antigone Voilee
JEL Classification: K19, Z00Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 26, 2009
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