1st Edition

The Legal Legacy of the Reformation Catholic and Protestant Approaches to Law

Edited By John Duddington Copyright 2025
    324 Pages
    by Routledge

    The growing interest in the relationship between religion and law is, in the case of Christianity, often viewed in monolithic terms. Moreover, the debate is often seen in terms of the relationship of Christianity to the State along with discussions about, for example, religious freedom. Christianity is often seen as responding to claims made on it by the state and by the growth of secularism. This book takes a different approach. First, it makes the claim that Christianity has something of value to say about various pressing issues which are of direct relevance to contemporary society. Amongst these are the place of human rights and that of individual claims of conscience. Second, it does not regard Christianity as a monolithic whole but takes as its starting point the sundering of Christendom at the Reformation which, it claims, led in many cases to divergent patterns of thought between Catholics and Protestants about law and its place in society. However, as this book shows, in many cases Catholic and Protestant thinking on areas such as natural law is not as divergent as it is often thought. 500 years after the Reformation, the work presents a reflection on the roots of Catholic and Protestant thinking on law and its place in society. It will be of interest to canon lawyers as well as academics and students of law and religion.

    List of Contributors



    Part One: Church law and the Reformation

    Ch. 1 A comparative account of Protestant and Catholic approaches to church law: law in the life of the visible church
    Norman Doe

    Ch. 2  How the English and Scots Reformations shaped Ecclesiastical and Secular law in Great Britain
    Frank Cranmer

    Ch.3 The Reformation and Legal Change: The Persistence of Medieval Canon Law
    Richard Helmholz

    Part Two: Catholic and Protestant Approaches to Law in the Life of the Church

    Ch. 4: Legislative Authority in the Anglican Communion
    Richard Deadman                                                 

    Ch. 5  The Theology of Canon Law: a Catholic Perspective on the Fundamentals
    Luke Beckett

    Ch. 6  Conscience and Natural Law: a Calvinist perspective
    Paul Goodliff                                                   

    Part Three: Catholic and Protestant Approaches to Church, State and State Law

    Ch. 7 Natural Law and Secular Law:   the Reformation Legacy – an Ecumenical Approach
    Norman Doe and Stephen Coleman                                                  

    Ch. 8 Catholic and Protestant Approaches to Church – State  Relations
    Helen Costigane

    Part Four: Catholic and Protestant Approaches to Particular Areas of Law

    Ch. 9  Marriage Law  and Education Law
    Russell Sandberg 

    Ch. 10 Equity and Conscience
    Richard Hedlund

    Ch. 11 The Reformation and Human Rights
    David McIlroy                                                                     

    Ch. 12 The Reformation and the Birth of Criminal Law
    Mathias Schmoeckel

    Ch. 13 The Reformation and its impact on the Law of Charites and Social Welfare
    John Duddington                                     


    John Duddington is editor of Law and Justice, the Christian Law Review, and former Head of the Law School at Worcester College of Technology.