God’s Joust, God’s Justice: Law and Religion in the Western Tradition
God’s Joust, God’s Justice: Law and Religion in the Western Tradition (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006) (Chinese translation forthcoming)
There are three things that people will die for -- their faith, their freedom, and their family. This volume focuses on all three, including the interactions among them, in the Western tradition and today. Retrieving and reconstructing a wealth of material from the earliest Hebrew and Greek texts of the West to the latest machinations of the Supreme Court, John Witte explores the legal and theological foundations of authority and liberty, equality and dignity, rights and duties, marriage and family, crime and punishment, and similar topics. God's Joust, God's Justice is a lucid scholarly introduction to the burgeoning field of law and religion and a learned historical inquiry into the weightier matters of the law.
Table of Contents
LAW, RELIGION, AND HUMAN RIGHTS
1. A Short History of Western Rights
2. Freedom of a Christian: Human Dignity, Liberty, and Equality in the Theology of Martin Luther
3. A Dickensian Era of Religious Rights: Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Contributions
4. Soul Wars in Russia: The Clash of Eastern and Western Christianity over Religion and Liberty
LAW AND RELIGION IN AMERICAN HISTORY AND TODAY
5. How to Govern a City on a Hill: Puritan Contributions to American Constitutional Law and Liberty
6. Religious Rights in Eighteenth-Century America: The Original Understanding of the First Amendment
7. That Serpentine Wall of Separation Between Church and State
8. Adams versus Jefferson: From Establishment to Freedom of Public Religion
9. The Three Uses of the Law: A Protestant Source of the Purposes of Criminal Punishment?
LAW, RELIGION, AND THE FAMILY
10. An Apt and Cheerful Conversation on Marriage
11. The Goods and Goals of Marriage in the Western Tradition
12. More Than a Mere Contract: Marriage as Contract and Covenant in Law and Theology
13. The Perils of Clerical Celibacy
14. Ishmael’s Bane: The Sin and Crime of Illegitimacy Reconsidered
15. The Duties of Love: the Vocation of the Child in the Household Manual Tradition
Conclusion: The Challenges of Christian Jurisprudence in Modern Times
Afterword: The Cathedral of the Law
Scholarly Exchange Between Brent T. Wilmot and John Witte, Jr., Conversations in Religion and Theology 5 (2007): 226-239 (November, 2007)
"Traces the historic struggles that generated the constitutional separation of church and state and shows that they do not demand a wall between faith-based morality and public policy, a politics with no place for religious ethics, or the silence of theology when jurisprudence speaks. Witte is known for his careful studies of the mutual influence of religion and law in the formation of human rights, modern democracy, and family life. He is alert to the various threats in these areas posed today by bad theology or bad law. In this volume he draws such themes together to offer a spiritually and legally compelling view of those contemporary issues that vex public debates."
-- Max L. Stackhouse, Princeton Theological Seminary
"John Witte displays a masterful grasp of the history and contemporary relevance of efforts to establish in law justice both human and divine."
-- Richard John Neuhaus - editor in chief of First Things
"The future of our society depends on religious communities that can supply the narrative that will ground the work of human rights. Witte's welcome book is an important wake-up call."
-- Christian Century
“A tremendous resource for pondering the origin and evolution of ideas that have shaped the constitutional, judicial, and operational parameters for the nexus between religion and law in American and in global context.”
-- Elizabeth Prodromou, Journal of Law and Religion
“This, the latest and widest-ranging of Professor Witte's explorations of the overlapping realms of law, theology, and history, is engaging, thoughtful, and respectful of the different intellectual and religious traditions with which he deals. It covers three distinct topics, human rights law, the American church-state relation, and family law. For each, Witte uses the same methodology. He examines the contributions of the various religious traditions, Catholic, Protestant, and, as far as he finds them applicable, Orthodox, Jewish, and Islamic. He relates all these to the contribution of the secular Enlightenment tradition, and tries to develop a synthesis that will allow today's Christians to live in love and peace with their neighbors. His conclusions are decent, humane, and ecumenical, and his treatment of debatable questions is very fair to both sides. Among other valuable discussions, he has a thorough and sympathetic account of the attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church and the post-Communist Russian government toward evangelizing initiatives from Western Europe and America, and an enlightening examination of the legislative history of the religion clauses of the First Amendment.”
-- Robert E. Rodes, The Catholic Historical Review