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Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Agnostic Age: Law, Religion, and the Constitution

I'm pleased to say that my book, The Agnostic Age: Law, Religion, and the Constitution, is now available from Oxford University Press.  The Oxford website for it is here, and the Amazon page is here.  If you are at the AALS convention, a copy should be available to peruse at the Oxford booth; I will also be talking about it at the Lumen Christi conference on Saturday.  I will be posting the introductory chapter on SSRN and will give the link once some technical difficulties have been worked out.  

I hope that the book will be interesting not only for readers who have a special interest in law and religion, but also those who are more broadly interested in questions of religious truth, of the relationship between religion and liberal democracy, of the standard and tedious debate between the New Atheists and the Anti-New Atheists, and other issues.  If nothing else, it cites both Star Trek--the old Trek, of course; none of your next generations for me--and Highlander, so you know it is a serious scholarly work.

I'm sure I'll have occasion to hawk the book talk about the book here over the next few weeks.  I thought I might offer up the blurbs in the hope of whetting your appetite.  Of course, I agree with everything they say, and find it interesting and perhaps a little hopeful that each reader has, in a sense, found elements of the book that call to their own sensibilities.

"This is a powerful, learned, eloquent and wonderfully accessible account of the multi-layered and intractable tensions between religion's commitment to doctrinal truths and the liberal state's commitment to a non theistic--which does not necessarily mean anti-theistic--political order. Professor Horwitz takes the reader on a tour of the scholarship and the issues as he makes his way through the minefield of the establishment and free exercise clauses with ease, good humor, and an infectious spirit of optimism." 
--Stanley Fish 
Davidson-Kahn Professor of Law and Humanities at Florida International University 

"Taking truth (and therefore doubt) seriously-that's the central theme of this engaging book. In the midst of religious pluralism, a few scholars say our law of religious freedom must be based on what we believe to be true; more often, judges and scholars insist that our law must be detached from or 'neutral' toward religious truth. Professor Horwitz analyzes the problems with both positions. He proposes an alternative strategy which recognizes that we must act on what we believe to be true but that all our truths are profoundly contestable--and contested. This is a lively, insightful, and provocative book." 
--Steven D. Smith, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, University of San Diego 

"The confident predictions of religion's decline and disappearance have proved badly misguided. It is true today, as it always has been, that religious faith, commitments, authority, and activism matter to people, to communities, and therefore to the law. In this thoughtful, engaging book, Prof. Horwitz proposes that our law and politics should appreciate religion's importance and distinctiveness and take its truth-claims seriously. As he explains, a secular government that is appropriately agnostic toward these claims nevertheless may and should cherish and protect religious freedom." 
--Richard W. Garnett 
Professor of Law and Associate Dean 
Notre Dame Law School 



Posted by Paul Horwitz on January 6, 2011 at 10:05 AM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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Congratulations, Paul. This is a wonderful accomplishment.

Posted by: Scott Gerber | Jan 7, 2011 8:16:47 AM

congratulations, paul! i look forward to reading it!

Posted by: Ian Bartrum | Jan 6, 2011 12:40:07 PM

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