Religion, Human Rights and Post-Secular Legal Theory

27 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2011 Last revised: 16 Jun 2012

See all articles by Zachary R. Calo

Zachary R. Calo

Valparaiso University Law School

Date Written: February 2, 2011


This paper proposes that the fundamental challenge for religious legal theory is the question of the secular and, in particular, a certain mode of secular reason that has shaped the idea of law within modernity. The fundamental ambition of modern legal thought was to sever law from a connection to a sacred cosmic and intellectual order. The idea of human rights, at least in its regnant expression, embodies this project most fully in that it has increasingly been defined as a moral tradition that stands over and against religion. This paper, by contrast, argues that the destabilization of secular meaning creates the space, and indeed the necessity, for a pluralist theological turn within the idea of human rights.

Keywords: Human Rights, Secular, Secularism, Post-Secular, Religion, Pluralism, Theology, Religious Legal Theory

Suggested Citation

Calo, Zachary, Religion, Human Rights and Post-Secular Legal Theory (February 2, 2011). 85 St. John's Law Review 495 (2011). Available at SSRN:

Zachary Calo (Contact Author)

Valparaiso University Law School ( email )

656 S. Greenwich St.
Valparaiso, IN 46383-6493
United States
219.465.7970 (Phone)


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