Christianity and Human Rights: An Introduction

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521194419
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2011
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Witte, Jr is Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law, Alonzo L. McDonald 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 University Press, 2009), Christianity and Law: An Introduction (with Frank S. Alexander, Cambridge University Press, 2008) The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

Frank S. Alexander is the 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, 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).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; List of contributors; The first word: to be human is to be free Desmond M. Tutu; Introduction John Witte, Jr; 1. The Judaic foundations of rights David Novak; 2. Ius in Roman law Charles Donahue; 3. Human rights and early Christianity David Aune; 4. Human rights in the canon law R. H. Helmholz; 5. The modern Catholic church and human rights: the impact of the second Vatican Council J. Bryan Hehir; 6. Rights and liberties in early modern Protestantism: the example of Calvinism John Witte, Jr; 7. Modern Protestant developments in human rights Nicholas P. Wolterstorff; 8. The issue of human rights in Byzantium and the Orthodox Christian tradition John A. McGuckin; 9. The human rights system T. Jeremy Gunn; 10. The image of God: rights, reason, and order Jeremy Waldron; 11. Religion and equality Kent Greenawalt; 12. Proselytism and human rights Silvio Ferrari; 13. Religious liberty, church autonomy, and the structure of freedom Richard W. Garnett; 14. Christianity and the rights of children: an integrative view Don Browning; 15. Christianity and the rights of women M. Christian Green; 16. Christianity, human rights, and a theology that touches the ground Robert A. Seiple; 17. A right to clean water John Copeland Nagle; The final word: can Christianity contribute to a global civil religion? Robert N. Bellah.
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