Christianity and Human Rights: An Introduction

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2011-01-31
Publisher(s): Cambridge University Press
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Combining Jewish, Greek, and Roman teachings with the radical new teachings of Christ and St. Paul, Christianity helped to cultivate the cardinal ideas of dignity, equality, liberty and democracy that ground the modern human rights paradigm. Christianity also helped shape the law of public, private, penal, and procedural rights that anchor modern legal systems in the West and beyond. This collection of essays explores these Christian contributions to human rights through the perspectives of jurisprudence, theology, philosophy and history, and Christian contributions to the special rights claims of women, children, nature and the environment. The authors also address the church's own problems and failings with maintaining human rights ideals. With contributions from leading scholars, including a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, this book provides an authoritative treatment of how Christianity shaped human rights in the past, and how Christianity and human rights continue to challenge each other in modern times.

Author Biography

John Witte, Jr. is Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law, Alonzo L. McDonald Family Foundation Distinguished Professor, and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. His previous publications include The Sins of the Fathers: The Law and Theology of Illegitimacy Reconsidered (Cambridge, 2009), Christianity and Law: An introduction (with Frank S. Alexander, Cambridge, 2008), The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism (Cambridge, 2007), and Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation (Cambridge, 2001). Frank S. Alexander is Sam Nunn Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. His previous publications include Georgia Real Estate Finance and Foreclosure Law (5th edition, 2009), and, with John Witte, Jr. The Teachings of Modern Christianity on Law, Politics and Human Nature, 2 volumes (2006) and The Weightier Matters of the Law: Essays on Law and Religion (1988).

Table of Contents

List of contributorsp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xi
The first word: to be human is to be freep. 1
Introductionp. 8
Foundations and Developments of Human Rightsp. 45
The Judaic foundation of rightsp. 47
Ius in Roman lawp. 64
Human rights and early Christianityp. 81
Human rights in the canon lawp. 99
The modern Catholic Church and human rights: the impact of the Second Vatican Councilp. 113
Rights and liberties in early modern Protestantism: the example of Calvinismp. 135
Modern Protestant developments in human rightsp. 155
The issue of human rights in Byzantium and the Orthodox Christian traditionp. 173
Christianity and the Modern Human Rights Frameworkp. 191
The human rights systemp. 193
The image of God: rights, reason, and orderp. 216
Religion and equalityp. 236
Proselytism and human rightsp. 253
Religious liberty, church autonomy, and the structure of freedomp. 267
Christianity and the rights of children: an integrative viewp. 283
Christianity and the rights of womenp. 302
Christianity, human rights, and a theology that touches the groundp. 320
A right to clean waterp. 335
The final word: can Christianity contribute to a global civil religion?p. 351
Biblical indexp. 367
Indexp. 370
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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