Jun 29, 2011

The Journal of Christian Legal Thought

This month the Institute for Christian Legal Studies published the inaugural issue of the Journal of Christian Thought, available in hard copy (to Christian Legal Society members) and in full electronic version at no cost. The mission of the Journal is to equip and encourage legal professionals to seek and study biblical truth as it relates to law, the practice of law, and legal institutions.

We hope to provide practitioners and students a vehicle through which to engage Christian legal scholarship that will enhance theological reflection about the law and the lawyer's work, and, in addition, to provide legal scholars a medium through which to explore the law in light of Scripture, under the broad influence of the doctrines and creeds of the Christian faith and on the shoulders of the communion of saints across the ages.

The Journal will usually feature two or three scholarly articles, abstracted in the print edition and available in full online. But we decided to make the first issue a special one, highlighting works that a variety of scholars view as important to the project of cultivating Christian legal thought. So we approached a number of Christian professors and theologians, and asked each to write 500 words on a book or article of his or her choice, “helpful to the project of cultivating Christian legal thought.” The result is a collection of 31 very short essays that give a diversity of expression to the concept of Christian legal thought.

The collection has a nice range: from broadly theological foundations—both Roman Catholic (Newman and John Paul II) and Protestant (Calvin and Kuyper) perspectives—to narrow practice areas (Climate Change and International Law), to sophisticated integration of the two (Uelmen’s Toward a Trinitarian Theory of Products Liability, and Craig Stern on Jeff Tuomala’s Christ’s Atonement as the Model for Civil Justice).

The essays cover a variety of sources for, perspectives on, and approaches to Christian thinking about law and legal institutions. Some essays address the body of work of an important thinker, others only one book or article. From the broadly philosophical to the very practical, there is something of interest here for every lawyer and law student.

I'd love to hear from readers with suggestions and ideas for future issues. Let me know what you think!

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