Christianity and Family Law: An Introduction
Coeditor, Christianity and Family Law: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2017) (with Gary S. Hauk)
The Western tradition has always cherished the family as an essential foundation of a just and orderly society, and thus accorded it special legal and religious protection. Christianity embraced this teaching from the start, and many of the basics of Western family law were shaped by the Christian theologies of nature, sacrament, and covenant. This volume introduces readers to the enduring and evolving Christian norms and teachings on betrothals and weddings; marriage and divorce; women’s and children’s rights; marital property and inheritance; and human sexuality and intimate relationships. The chapters are authoritatively written but accessible to college and graduate students and scholars, as well as clergy and laity. While alert to the hot button issues of sexual liberty today, the contributing authors let the historical figures speak for themselves about what Christianity has and can contribute to the protection and guidance of our most intimate association.
Table of Contents
“Religious contributions to family law could be relegated to history or extolled as showing what the family could and should be. This book gets full marks for the former, and the “historical figures speak for themselves” (p. xx). As the editors note, it “avoids strong methodological or disciplinary biases,” aiming at a general audience (p. xx-xxi). Their introduction succinctly describes each chapter, the reasons chosen for each principal figure or “portrait,” and, sometimes, the gloss added by an author. The authors and editors seek to provide both legal and historical frameworks for the development of family law, stressing the relationship between Christian teachings and various topics. Most are experts on the personages discussed, frequently noting that their contributions are taken from larger works. Almost every chapter reveals new insights, and sometimes the figures themselves are novel (at least to this reader), even though their thoughts may creep into the modern discourse on the family. The editors seek to balance the various divisions in contemporary Christianity and largely succeed. They also include a variety of disciplines.”
-- M.F. Brinig, Journal of Church and State