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Divine Immanence: The Evangelical Foundations of Modern Anglo-American Approaches to International Law

11:3 Chinese Journal of International Law 429 (2012)

Mississippi College School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-05

40 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2012 Last revised: 28 Sep 2013

John D. Haskell

University of Manchester School of Law

Date Written: September 1, 2012

Abstract

In this article, I hypothesize that against mainstream secularization accounts concerning the 19th-century development of modern international law, especially within the Anglo-American experience, the discipline was significantly influenced by liberal Protestantism. My argument is that a liberal Protestant cultural elite, to which the first generation of international jurists belonged, drew inspiration from the theological doctrine of divine immanence to solidify their socio-political authority against a diverse series of internal and external threats. In an attempt to demonstrate the evangelical foundations of modern international law and the importance played by Anglo-American legal scholars within the tradition, the article is organized into three sections. First, I examine traditional 19th-century narratives of international law, particularly in relation to Christianity. Second, I trace out how the doctrine of divine immanence was formulated in liberal Protestant theology and how this influenced international legal scholarship within the period in relation to doctrines of the nation-state. Third, I examine how divine immanence shaped three anxieties shared by liberal Protestant theologians and international jurists, including former colonized people and institutions, Roman Catholic beliefs and immigrant populations, and the nascent industrial working-class and radical political ideologies. The article concludes with some brief reflections on the implications of this study and potential directions for future research in the field of religion and international legal history.

Suggested Citation

Haskell, John D., Divine Immanence: The Evangelical Foundations of Modern Anglo-American Approaches to International Law (September 1, 2012). 11:3 Chinese Journal of International Law 429 (2012) ; Mississippi College School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2155199

John D. Haskell (Contact Author)

University of Manchester School of Law ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL, M139PL
United Kingdom

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