Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 June 2019
This chapter examined the foundations of Judge John T. Noonan Jr.’s personalist jurisprudence. It looks first at some principal sources for his work, in particular Étienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain. It then engages in a close analysis of Noonan’s book, Persons and Masks of the Law, reflecting on the ways in which Noonan insists that while rules matter in the legal process, rules depend for their efficacy on the persons applying, complying, and evaluating those rules. The chapter then shifts its focus to consider two further aspects of Noonan’s thought: the centrality of narrative and love to the operation of the law. We are defined by narrative, Noonan demonstrates. This is so for us as individuals and as communities. Thus the legal process can only be understood through story. And we must relate to one another in love. This is true as much for individuals responding to the needs of others as it is for lawyers and judges seeking to interpret the words of contracts or wills.