'Christian Traditions, Culture, and Law': An Update and a Few Reflections

39 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by Robert F. Cochran

Robert F. Cochran

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law

Date Written: June 11, 2020


Using Richard Niebuhr’s description of Christian approaches to culture, this Article examines the way Christians approach law, focusing on developments over the last 20 years. During that time, synthesists have continued to develop natural law, seeking an understanding of law based on shared human goods and reason, an approach that can generate a common approach among people of all faiths and no faith. Conversionists, including those on both the political left and right, argue for changes in law that will reflect Christian understandings of the good. Separatists (including many former conversionists) argue that American culture and law have become so corrupt, materialistic, and hedonistic that Christians should withdraw from public life and focus on developing faithful communities that might be a witness to the world. Dualists argue that though influence in the world requires compromise, Christians should seek positions of leadership and do what they can for the common good. Culturalists have come to reflect the surrounding culture rather than witness to it. During this time, some cultural and political leaders have sought to push Christians from models that seek to influence culture (synthesist and conversionist) into models that do not (separatist, dualist, and culturalist).

Keywords: Christian Tradition, Christianity And The Law, Culture, Festschrift, Law Professors, Reflections, Robert Cochran, Tradition

Suggested Citation

Cochran, Robert F., 'Christian Traditions, Culture, and Law': An Update and a Few Reflections (June 11, 2020). Pepperdine Law Review, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2020, Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020/15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3624995

Robert F. Cochran (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law ( email )

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