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Speaking of Law and Religion: Why Law, Why Religion?—A Conversation Between a Lawyer and a Theologian

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 April 2015


On October 23-25, 2009, the Journal of Law and Religion celebrated its twenty-fifth year of publication devoted to “Speaking about Law and Religion” with a Symposium that brought a diverse group of scholars. A highlight of that Symposium was a celebratory luncheon held on October 24 that featured a conversation about law and religion between Douglas Sturm, Professor Emeritus, Becknell University, and Milner Ball, Professor Emeritus, University of Georgia School of Law. These two scholars, one a theologian who takes law seriously in his work, and one a lawyer who takes theology seriously in his work, have inspired many to enter the conversation about the intersection of law and religion to which each of them have made so many contributions over the years.

Among Milner Ball's many contributions is the inspiration he provides to many who, like him, seek to explore a new vision of law as an enterprise that can nurture the life of all in the world we share, and the courage he displays by drawing on theology for this task. He demonstrated this many years ago by posing a provocative question to a critic of his work who said, “she did not want or expect theology” in reading a draft of his book Lying Down Together: Law, Metaphor, and Theology. Milner's response was “if not theology, then what?” Since then he has continued to offer his own contributions that take this question seriously at the very heart of his work. Two notable examples, The Word and the Law (University of Chicago Press 1993), and Called by Stories: Biblical Sagas and their Challenge for Law (Duke University Press 2000).

Copyright © Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University 2008

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1. Ball, Milner S., Lying Down Together: Law, Metaphor, and Theology 124125 (U. WI Press 1985)Google Scholar.

2. Sturm, Douglas, Modernity and the Meaning of Law: The Importance of the Religious Factor, 2 Humanities Socy. 117 (1979)Google Scholar.