Item description for From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition (Family, Religion, and Culture) by John Witte Jr...
Overview This book presents a study of five conflicting models of marriage--Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, and Enlightment--and their impact on domestic legislation and organization over the last millennium. This book is a touchstone for a new intellectual history of religion.
In "From Sacrament to Contract," John Witte Jr. offers a study of five conflicting models of marriage--Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, and Enlightenment--and their social and political impact over the last thousand years. In so doing, Witte shows how we arrived at the notion of marriage as contract.
The Family, Culture, and Religion series offers informed and responsible analyses of the state of the American family from a religious perspective and provides practical assistance for the family's revitalization.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.08" Width: 6.14" Height: 0.83" Weight: 1.11 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 1997
Publisher Westminster John Knox Press
Series Family Religion And Culture
ISBN 0664255434 ISBN13 9780664255435
Availability 0 units.
More About John Witte Jr
John Witte Jr. is the Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He has published 120 articles and 20 books, including Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation and The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism. Frank S. Alexander is Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He has published a dozen volumes, including The Weightier Matters of the Law: Essays on Law and Religion.
John Witte Jr has an academic affiliation as follows - Emory University, Atlanta.
Reviews - What do customers think about From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition (Family, Religion, and Culture)?
Outstanding Legal and Theological History of Marriage May 8, 1999
This outstanding contribution to scholarship in the history of law and religion analyzes the interplay between Christian theological norms and Western legal principles in family life. Departing from Voltaire's quip that the Christian family is either "a little church, a little state, or a little club," John Witte, Jr., Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Ethics at Emory University School of Law examines the theology and law of the family in the Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, and Enlightenment traditions.
The account begins with the development of the medieval Catholic canon law of marriage in an effort to combat the phenomenon of "secret marriage." Indeed, Witte reveals that prior to the systematization of the canon law and the sacraments, couples could proclaim themselves to be married with none of the public ceremonies, present witnesses, and festive celebrations that would become the classic wedding accoutrements in subsequent centuries. Given the disarray of the canon law and the sacramental system before this medieval synthesis, any couple who thought they were married probably were married.
The social and covenantal dimensions of marriage replaced the sacramental dimension as the hallmarks of the theology of the family in the Protestant Reformation, which Witte examines in its Lutheran and Calvinistic expressions. It was in this era that many of the trappings of the modern wedding, such as witnesses and church ceremonies, came into existence. The Anglican tradition encompassed the sacramental, social, and covenantal models in a commonwealth model that linked the common good of the couple, their children, the church, and the state in a model that became increasingly egalitarian and democratized, tracking political progress within the British commonwealth.
The ironic result of the development of marriage law and theology in the Christian West is that the move toward greater regulation and publicity in the Catholic, Reformation, and Anglican traditions was eventually largely overturned by the Enlightenment notions of contract and rights. Marriage came to be conceived largely as a private and completely voluntary contract--a bargain struck seemingly at arm's length by parties seeking the most intimate of associations. The Enlightenment model is, in essence, the model that is our legacy in the present day. It is this journey from sacrament to contract that characterizes marriage in the West and has led us to where we are today in the law and lore of marriage and family. Witte's work is a remarkable chronicle of the social practices, legal doctrines, and theological foundations encountered along the way.