It has often been remarked that law and religion have much in common. One of the most conspicuous elements is that both law and religion frequently refer to a text that has authority over the members of a community. In the case of religion this text is deemed to be 'holy', in the case of law, some, such as the American constitution, are widely held as 'sacred'. In both examples, priests and judges exert a duty to tell the community what the founding document has to say about contemporary problems. This therefore involves an element of interpretation of the relevant authoritative texts and this book focuses on such methods of interpretation in the fields of law and religion. As its starting point, scholars from different disciplines discuss the textualist approach presented here by American Supreme Court Judge and academic scholar, Justice Antonin Scalia, not only from the perspective of law but also from that of theology. The result is a lively discussion which presents a range of diverse perspectives and arguments with regard to interpretation in law and religion.
Arie-Jan Kwak is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, Leiden University. He teaches courses on civil and criminal law, jurisprudence and legal methodology. His research interests range from legal methodology to legal professional ethics. He has published widely on these and related areas.
'Addressing Justice Scalia's textual argument from an interdisciplinary perspective this book shows the interrelationship of law, religion and philosophy. While each contributor is a recognized expert in a particular discipline the book's strength is in the integration of their respective disciplines. This book shows the extraordinary contribution an interdisciplinary approach makes to a deeper understanding of the human condition.' Amos N. Guiora, SJ Quinney College of Law, The University of Utah, USA 'This perceptive and provocative volume reminds us how much religion and the law have in common. Both rest on authority, both require interpretation, and both have been reduced in many instances to definitive texts, available to any literate person. No one should think about the law without contemplating the issues discussed in this book.' Mortimer Sellers, Regents' Professor of the University System of Maryland, USA '... Holy Writ: Interpretation in Law and Religion is a book well worth reading. There is something in it for everyone interested in legal and/or religious interpretation. ... It is rich and diverse in thought and perspective, and different parts will shine for different readers. All readers, however, will learn something from each of the essays. This book delivers in a way that one hopes such collections will always deliver. What more can one ask from a collection of essays?' International Journal for the Semiotics of Law