Dec 2, 2009

The Essential Law Student Reading List

A few months ago, I asked this question to a group of Christian law professors:

“Off the top of your head-- no need to noodle on this for more than two minutes—please provide your recommendations of the two or three (or so) books or essays that every Christian law student ought to read before or during law school?”

Here are the answers, grouped roughly according to how often a book was recommended.

Group 1: Most Recommended

Augustine, City of God

Harold L. Berman, Law and Revolution (Harvard 1983)

Holy Bible (read through)

J. Budziszewski, Natural Law for Lawyers (Blackstone)

Hamilton, Madison, & Jay, The Federalist (at least 9, 10, 47‐51, and 78)

McConnell, Cochran, & Carmella, eds., Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought (Yale 2001)
(Michael McConnell's essay on classical liberalism and Jeff Powell’s essay received specific

Michael P. Schutt, Redeeming Law: Christian Calling and the Legal Profession (InterVarsity 2007)

Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Group 2: Significant Support

Joseph Allegretti, The Lawyer's Calling (Paulist Press 1996)

Baker and Floyd, Can A Good Christian Be A Good Lawyer? (Notre Dame 1997)

Gerard V. Bradley, A Student’s Guide to the Study of Law (ISI 2006)

Roger Cramton, The Ordinary Religion of the Law School Classroom, 29 J. Leg. Ed. 247 (1978)

Os Guinness, The Call (Word 1998)

Phillip E. Johnson, Reason in the Balance (InterVarsity 1995)

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism

Arthur Leff, Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law, 1979 Duke L.J. 1229

Oliver O'Donovan and Joan Lockwood O'Donovan, eds. From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought (Eerdman’s 1999) (I would call this 838‐page book an essential reference, rather than essential reading, but maybe I’m a slacker. ‐ MS).

Tom Shaffer, Lawyers as Prophets 15 St. Thom. L. Rev. 469 (2003)

Steven D. Smith, Law's Quandary (Harvard 2007)

Craig A. Stern, God’s Caesar (Blackstone) (unpublished)

Jeffrey C. Tuomala, Christ’s Atonement as the Model for Civil Justice, 38 Am. J. Juris. 221 (1993).

John Witte, The Reformation of Rights: Religion and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism (Cambridge 2008)

Group 3: Some Recommendations

Albert Alschuler, Law Without Values (University of Chicago 2002)

William Blackstone, Commentaries (jurisprudence sections)

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (Simon & Shuster 1987)

James Bratt, ed., Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader (Eerdman’s 1998)

J. Budziszewski, What We Can’t Not Know (Spence 2004)

J. Budziszewski, Written on the Heart: The Case For Natural Law (InterVarsity 1997)

Steven G. Calabresi, Originalism: A Quarter Century of Debate (Regnery 2007)

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (sections on law)

Thomas Folsom, Evaluating Supernatural Law, 21 Regent U. L. Rev. 105 (2008)

Steve Garber, The Fabric of Faithfulness (InterVarsity Press 1996)

Robert George, Making Men Moral (Oxford 1995)

John Paul II, The Splendor of Truth

J.M. Kelly, A Short History of Western Legal Theory (Oxford 1992)

Peter Kreeft, The Unaborted Socrates (InterVarsity 1983)

Karl N. Llewellyn, The Bramble Bush: On Our Law and Its Study

Martin Luther, On Temporal Authority

George Marsden, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship (Oxford 1998)

John Courtney Murray, We Hold These Truths (1960)

John Noonan, A Private Choice

Michael Novak's On Two Wings (2003)

Michael Novak, The Truth About Religious Freedom, First Things, March 2006

Michael Novak, The Faith of the Founding, First Things, April 2003

Plato, Republic

Herbert Schlossberg: Idols for Destruction (1983)

Craig A. Stern, The Common Law and the Religious Foundations of the Rule of Law Before Casey, 38 U. San Francisco L. Rev. 499 (2004)

Brian Tamanaha, Legal Instrumentalism (Cambridge 2006)

Herbert W. Titus, God’s Revelation: Foundation for the Common Law, 4 Regent U. L. Rev. 1 (1994)

Scott Turow, One‐L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School (Warner 2007)

Nicholas Wolterstorff, The God Who Loves Justice and Our Love of the God Who Loves Justice (Conference Paper). See also his new book, Justice.

John Witte, God’s Joust, God’s Justice (Eerdman’s 2006)

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