"In his From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Law, and the Western Tradition, Emory University's John Witte makes a landmark contribution to Western intellectual history by showing how five competing models of marriage emerged and affected both church and civil law. Marriage as sacrament in the Roman Catholic tradition is followed by the Lutheran view of marriage as social estate, the Calvinist version as covenant, the Anglican concept as commonwealth, and the Enlightenment rendition as contract, the legacy with which we seem currently to be stuck." -- Eric Mount, Jr. in Theology Today, April 1998
"It is rare for a just-published book to be immediately considered a potential classic in Christian theology and ethics . . . John Witte, Jr.'s From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition . . . is far and away the finest available history of Christian social thought on marriage and family . . . [It] will re-establish marriage and family as being central in mainstream Protestant Christian social thought, theology, and ethics, thereby correcting at least several decades of relative neglect . . .
In From Sacrament to Contract, Witte provides what s unquestionably the finest history of western marriage in the Christian epoch. He focuses on theological and ethical models of marriage in the Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, and Enlightenment contexts. Informed by a wealth of primary sources--many of which Witte has highlighted for the first time--the author shows how these models have directly impacted domestic law and organization. There is simply no other treatise that conveys the history and cultural impact of Christian social thought in such a thorough and penetrating fashion." --Stephen G. Post, PhD. in Journal of Religion, 79:4 October 1999
About 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 in Atlanta, Georgia.