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Monday, December 07, 2015

Benjamin Berger, Law's Religion: Religious Difference and the Claims of Constitutionalism

Benjamin Berger is a terrific scholar of law and religion at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. I'm delighted to note that he recently published a book, Law's Religion: Religious Difference and the Claims of Constitutionalism. I always gain insight from his work and look forward to reading this. Congratulations! Here's the book description and endorsements:

Prevailing stories about law and religion place great faith in the capacity of legal multiculturalism, rights-based toleration, and conceptions of the secular to manage issues raised by religious difference.  Yet the relationship between law and religion consistently proves more fraught than such accounts suggest. In Law’s Religion, Benjamin L. Berger knocks law from its perch above culture, arguing that liberal constitutionalism is an aspect of, not an answer to, the challenges of cultural pluralism.  Berger urges an approach to the study of law and religion that focuses on the experience of law as a potent cultural force.

Based on a close reading of Canadian jurisprudence, but relevant to all liberal legal orders, this book explores the nature and limits of legal tolerance and shows how constitutional law’s understanding of religion shapes religious freedom.  Rather than calling for legal reform, Law’s Religion invites us to rethink the ethics, virtues, and practices of adjudication in matters of religious difference.

Law’s Religion takes us beyond the familiar liberal legal subject of rights and duties and into a different experience of the law from the edges and the margins. Berger is at his best in conveying the force and significance of what it means to be subjected to and shaped by the culture of law’s rule. An extraordinary achievement.”

(Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University)

Law’s Religion makes an original and important argument as it helps us see the ways in which law shapes the meaning of religion. Situating both law and religion as part of culture, Berger shows us the significance of disputes in which the legal framework defines the religious issues at stake. Both the case analysis and the broader theoretical discussion of the relationship of law and religion are rich, insightful, and carefully argued.”

(Jennifer Nedelsky, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto)

 

Posted by Paul Horwitz on December 7, 2015 at 07:14 AM | Permalink

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