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From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition (Family, Religion, and Culture) Paperback – December 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Family, Religion, and Culture
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 1. Ed edition (December 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664255434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664255435
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,125,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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.

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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
This outstanding contribution to scholarship in the history of law and religion analyzes the interplay between Christian theological norms and Western legal principles in family life. Departing from Voltaire's quip that the Christian family is either "a little church, a little state, or a little club," John Witte, Jr., Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Ethics at Emory University School of Law examines the theology and law of the family in the Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, and Enlightenment traditions.
The account begins with the development of the medieval Catholic canon law of marriage in an effort to combat the phenomenon of "secret marriage." Indeed, Witte reveals that prior to the systematization of the canon law and the sacraments, couples could proclaim themselves to be married with none of the public ceremonies, present witnesses, and festive celebrations that would become the classic wedding accoutrements in subsequent centuries. Given the disarray of the canon law and the sacramental system before this medieval synthesis, any couple who thought they were married probably were married.
The social and covenantal dimensions of marriage replaced the sacramental dimension as the hallmarks of the theology of the family in the Protestant Reformation, which Witte examines in its Lutheran and Calvinistic expressions. It was in this era that many of the trappings of the modern wedding, such as witnesses and church ceremonies, came into existence.
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By Naira on January 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
Examining the canon of marriage in its Lutheran and Calvinistic expressions, this outstanding account legally, theologically, and philosophically explains the marriage beyond the contract in the eyes of God and the people.This books has its second edition --- equally remarkable!
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More 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 Center at Emory University. A specialist in legal history, marriage law, and religious liberty, he has published 200 articles, 13 journal symposia, and 26 books.

Recent book titles include: From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition, 2nd ed. (Westminster John Knox Press, 2012), No Establishment of Religion: America's Original Contribution to Religious Liberty, (Oxford University Press, 2012), and Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment, 3rd ed. (Westview Press, 2010). Witte is currently working on his 27th book.

Professor Witte's writings have appeared in ten languages, and he has lectured
and convened conferences through North America, Western and Eastern
Europe, Japan, Israel, and South Africa. With major funding from the Pew, Ford,Lilly, Luce, and McDonald foundations, he has directed 12 major international projects on democracy, human rights, and religious liberty, and on marriage, family, and children. These projects have collectively yielded more than 160 new volumes and 250 public forums around the world. He edits two major book series, "Studies in Law and Religion," and "Religion, Marriage and Family." He has been selected ten times by the Emory law students as the Most Outstanding Professor and has won dozens of other awards and prizes for his teaching and research.

Professor Witte is married to Eliza Ellison. They have two daughters and two grandchildren.