The Study of Law and Religion: An Apologia and Agenda
John Witte Jr.
Emory University School of Law
Frank S. Alexander
Ministry and Mission, Vol. 14, p. 4-15, Fall 1988
Law and religion are alienated. Law has become more efficient, but people within law have become more skeptical and cynical, because the law has been deemed malleable, oppressive, and political. A radical societal transformation has stretched social customs and pushed legal doctrines to their breaking point. Law has therefore become disjointed, and it has led to disillusionment and distrust. At the same time, theology has undergone drastic changes that challenged legal doctrines. As a result, many see law and religion as completely separate. Others have conflated their understanding of law and religion, believing their union leads to theonomic or theocratic law.
In fact, all of these understandings of the union of law and religion destroy independent functions of these two fields. Law involves rules plus social articulation and implementation of those rules, while religion is a belief plus social articulation and implementation of this belief. These two concepts must be brought together in dialectic harmony, for they are interdependent structures that are interrelated traditionally, conceptually, institutionally, methodologically, and professionally.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: Law, religionAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 3, 2011
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