1st Edition

Christianity and Private Law

Edited By Robert Cochran, Jr, Michael Moreland Copyright 2021
    330 Pages
    by Routledge

    330 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume examines the relationship between Christian legal theory and the fields of private law.

    Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in private law theory, and this book contributes to that discussion by drawing on the historical, theological, and philosophical resources of the Christian tradition. The book begins with an introduction from the editors that lays out the understanding of "private law" and what distinguishes private law topics from other fields of law. This section includes two survey chapters on natural law and biblical sources. The remaining sections of the book move sequentially through the fields of property, contracts, and torts. Several chapters focus on historical sources and show the ways in which the evolution of legal doctrine in areas of private law has been heavily influenced by Christian thinkers. Other chapters draw out more contemporary and public policy-related implications for private law.

    While this book is focused on the relationship of Christianity to private law, it will be of broad interest to those who might not share that faith perspective. In particular, legal historians and philosophers of law will find much of interest in the original scholarship in this volume. The book will be attractive to teachers of law, political science, and theology. It will be of special interest to the many law faculty in property, contracts, and torts, as it provides a set of often overlooked historical and theoretical perspectives on these fields.


    1. Introduction

    a. John Witte, Jr. (Emory) - Foreword

    b. The Editors - Introduction

    c. James R. Gordley (Tulane) - Christian Origins of Private Law

    d. Brent A. Strawn (Duke) - Biblical Understandings of Private Law

    2. Property

    a. David W. Opderbeck (Seton Hall) - Christian Thought and Property Law

    b. William S. Brewbaker III (Alabama) - Augustinian Property

    c. Richard H. Helmholz (Chicago) - Religion and English Property Law: 1500-1700

    d. Adam J. MacLeod (Faulkner) – Property and Practical Reason

    e. Paula A. Franzese and Angela C. Carmella (Seton Hall) – Catholic Social Teaching, Property Law, and Public Housing

    3. Contracts

    a. Wim Decock (KU Leuven, Belgium) - Contract Law in Early Modern Scholasticism

    b. David S. Caudill (Villanova) - Private Law in Christian Perspective: The Example of Dooyeweerd on Contracts

    c. C. Scott Pryor (Campbell) - Destabilizing Contract: A Christian Argument For Revitalizing Unconscionability

    d. Val D. Ricks (South Texas) – Christianity, Freedom, and the Doctrine of Consideration

    e. Michael A. Helfand (Pepperdine) - Privatization and Pluralism in Dispute Resolution: Promoting Religious Values through Contract

    4. Torts

    a. Michael P. Moreland (Villanova) and Jeffrey A. Pojanowski (Notre Dame) – The Moral of Torts

    b. David F. Partlett (Emory) – Christianity and Tort Duties

    c. Nathan B. Oman (William and Mary) – Christianity’s Quarrel with Civil Recourse Theory

    d. Robert F. Cochran, Jr. (Pepperdine) - Tort Law and Intermediate Communities: Catholic and Calvinist Theories


    Robert F. Cochran, Jr. is Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law and Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia, USA.

    Michael P. Moreland is University Professor of Law and Religion and Director of the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, USA.