This issue closes out the thirty-fifth volume of the Journal of Law and Religion. Over thirty-five volumes, the scholars and subjects that fill the pages of the journal have evidenced both continuity and change as perennial questions and established scholars in the field of law and religion have been joined by emerging issues and a new cohort of researchers. JLR has grown with the field of law and religion, from the field's early days as a small scholarly community anchored in a few niche programs (principally in the United States and Europe) to a robust global conversation with important centers of gravity across six continents. Throughout the decades of expansion, from the humble beginnings to the now global field of study, law and religion has been deeply interdisciplinary and interreligious, inviting and encouraging perspectives from across the academy and religious traditions—although the disciplinary and religious interlocutors have also diversified in important ways over time.Footnote 1
Over thirty-five volumes, JLR has always aspired to be the place where the vital contributions to this wide-ranging conversation are published. As the founding editors, Michael Scherschligt and Wilson Yates, wrote in the preface to the first issue, “In undertaking this venture, we seek to provide a forum, a place to hear and be heard for all those interested in exploring how law and religion are related.”Footnote 2 This charge was embraced by the journal's longest serving editor-in-chief, Marie Failinger, when she and Patrick Keifert took over the reins of the journal in 1989, writing “we take up the challenge which Michael and Wilson left us: to encourage the widest possible diversity of thoughtful, well-written views about law and religion, to inquire deeply and persistently into the relationships between these disciplines and these practices, and to ask courageously the common questions which they raise.”Footnote 3 And it was to the mission of providing a distinguished forum for deep dialogue across disciplines and religious traditions that we dedicated ourselves when JLR moved from its long-time editorial home at Hamline University School of Law to the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University in 2013.Footnote 4
As we close out this thirty-fifth volume and look expectantly to the future of JLR, we are recommitted to the mission of publishing cutting-edge interdisciplinary, interreligious, and international research on critical issues of law and religion. Further advancing this mission, we are excited to announce the addition of eleven new co-editors to the journal's leadership beginning with volume thirty-six. Preeminent scholars in their respective fields, the new co-editors will expand and enhance JLR's interdisciplinary, interreligious, and international expertise:
• Joseph E. David, Associate Professor of Law, Sapir Academic College
• Donald R. Davis Jr., Professor of Asian Studies, University of Texas at Austin
• Rafael Domingo, Spruill Family Professor of Law and Religion, Emory University, and Alvaro d'Ors Professor of Law, University of Navarra
• Farid Esack, Professor in the Study of Islam, University of Johannesburg
• M. Cathleen Kaveny, Darald and Juliet Libby Professor of Law and Theology, Boston College
• Mirjam Künkler, Fellow, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study
• Linda C. McClain, Robert Kent Professor of Law, Boston University
• Mark L. Movsesian, Frederick A. Whitney Professor of Contract Law and Co-Director of the Center for Law and Religion, St. John's University
• Jaclyn L. Neo, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore
• Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies, University of Edinburgh
• Brent A. Strawn, Professor of Old Testament and Professor of Law, Duke University
We are deeply grateful to each of these exceptional scholars for agreeing to take on the responsibility of leading JLR, as well as contributing their time, talent, and expertise to continuing to expand and improve the scholarship we publish.
Expanding the range and depth of scholarly acumen among the journal's leadership is the centerpiece of broader changes that will improve the experience of authors and the quality of scholarship the journal publishes. The new co-editors’ experience and expertise will allow JLR to identify excellent scholarship from around the globe and offer more robust and substantive editorial guidance, ensuring that every manuscript is its best possible version when it publishes in the pages of JLR. In addition to expanding the co-editors, the journal has also undertaken a comprehensive review and revision of our submission and decision process with the goal of expediting decisions while ensuring robust peer review. Interested authors can read more about the new submission and decision process in the revised instructions for authors at our website.Footnote 5 It is our hope that these changes will build on the long legacy of JLR and ensure its continued growth and excellence.
This issue is a fitting conclusion to volume thirty-five and precursor to the expanded global, disciplinary, and religious engagement that the new co-editors will bring to JLR. Essays and articles in this issue discuss law and religion in the United States, Lebanon, India, China, Indonesia, and Russia; the authors engage doctrinal legal analysis, history, gender studies, theology, and jurisprudence; and the discussions engage with Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodox Christianity. In the tradition and spirit of the Journal of Law and Religion, we are delighted to offer our readers the wide-ranging conversations in this issue, and we look forward to more expansive and more robust conversations in the future in partnership with our new co-editors.