Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Catharine MacKinnon May Not Be Enough: Legal Change and Religion in Catholic and Sunni Jurisprudence

42 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2007 Last revised: 9 Jan 2011

Russell Powell

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: January 6, 2011

Abstract

This article asserts that legal change in systems influenced by religion requires a legitimizing hermeneutic rooted in sacred texts and tradition. I argue that a number scholars of legal history (Michael Klarman), feminist jurisprudence (Catharine MacKinnon, Katherine Bartlett and Elizabeth Schneider) and narrative theory (Jacques Derrida, Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic) explicitly or implicitly accept that legal reform is in some sense determined by underlying social shifts attributed variously to public opinion, consciousness or narrative. Although I generally agree with this view, my research comparing the law and theory governing divorce and leadership by women in Roman Catholicism and Sunni Islam indicates that religious communities require the additional step of a hermeneutic to validate legal change. Thus, proposed legal reform in cultures influenced by religious thought (even if only on select issues) ought to address hermeneutics in order to be successful.

Keywords: Law and Religion, Women and Law, Feminist, Islamic, Catholic, Comparative, Gender, Legal Theory, Jurisprudence

JEL Classification: N40

Suggested Citation

Powell, Russell, Catharine MacKinnon May Not Be Enough: Legal Change and Religion in Catholic and Sunni Jurisprudence (January 6, 2011). Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2007; Islamic Law and Law of the Muslim World Paper No. 08-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1033119

Russell Powell (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
191
Rank
133,859
Abstract Views
3,395