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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2022
Print publication year:
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Creative Commons:
Creative Common License - CC Creative Common License - BY Creative Common License - NC Creative Common License - ND
This content is Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Book description

The conventional approach to law and religion assumes that these are competing domains, which raises questions about the freedom of, and from, religion; alternate commitments of religion and human rights; and respective jurisdictions of civil and religious courts. This volume moves beyond this competitive paradigm to consider law and religion as overlapping and interrelated frameworks that structure the social order, arguing that law and religion share similar properties and have a symbiotic relationship. Moreover, many legal systems exhibit religious characteristics, informing their notions of authority, precedent, rituals and canonical texts, and most religions invoke legal concepts or terminology. The contributors address this blurring of law and religion in the contexts of political theology, secularism, church-state conflicts, and the foundational idea of divine law. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.


‘Too often, debates and doctrines about ‘law’ and ‘religion’ presume that these are sharply distinct, entirely separate practices or ideas. This volume enriches and deepens our understandings and conversations by reminding us that legal and theological reasoning are often analogous and complementary, that religious and political institutions regularly and appropriately cooperate, and that legal and religious beliefs and practices are profoundly shaped by each other.’

Richard W. Garnett - Professor of Law, Director, Notre Dame Program on Church, State & Society, Concurrent Professor of Political Science, Notre Dame Law School

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Full book PDF
  • Law As Religion, Religion As Law
    pp i-ii
  • Law As Religion, Religion As Law - Title page
    pp iii-iii
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Contents
    pp v-vi
  • Contributors
    pp vii-viii
  • Introduction
    pp 1-4
  • A - Sanctification and Secularization
    pp 5-80
  • 1 - Desanctification of Law and the Problem of Absolutes
    pp 7-28
  • 2 - The Paradox of Human Rights Discourse and the Jewish Legal Tradition
    pp 29-52
  • 3 - Sovereign Imaginaries
    pp 53-80
  • Visualizing the Sacred Foundation of Law’s Authority
  • B - Legal-Religious Language
    pp 81-170
  • 4 - Dat: From Law to Religion
    pp 83-112
  • The Transformation of a Formative Term in Modern Times
  • 5 - Law As Religion, Religion As Law
    pp 113-150
  • Halakhah from a Semiotic Point of View
  • C - Legal-Theological Roots
    pp 171-270
  • 7 - Exceptional Grace
    pp 173-196
  • Religion As the Sovereign Suspension of Law1
  • 8 - A Bad Man Theory of Religious Law (Numbers 15:30–31 and Its Afterlife)
    pp 197-224
  • 9 - Soviet Law and Political Religion
    pp 225-247
  • 10 - International Law as Evangelism
    pp 248-270
  • D - Religious Conceptions of Law
    pp 271-340
  • 13 - Christian Feasts and Administration of Roman Justice in Late Antiquity
    pp 314-340
  • E - Law in Formation: Religious Perspectives
    pp 341-342


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