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The Agnostic Age: Law, Religion, and the Constitution 1st Edition

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199737727
ISBN-10: 019973772X
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Editorial Reviews

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"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


"Drawing on a combination of legal, cultural, and literary scholarship...The Agnostic Age is an accessible and timely book for readers interested in the connections between pluralism,
religion, and liberal democracy."
--Harvard Law Review


About the Author


Paul Horwitz is the Gordon Rosen Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law. He has taught at the University of Iowa, Notre Dame Law School, and the University of San Diego, among other places, and has spoken at some of the nation's leading law schools. He is widely published in the field of constitutional law and the First Amendment, and he has written extensively on law and religion. He is also a blogger at the popular legal blog Prawfsblawg. He is a lawyer in both Canada and the United States, a former editor-in-chief of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review, and a former law clerk for a federal appeals judge.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019973772X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199737727
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,002,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Professor Horwitz has made an interesting and provocative attempt to rethink our jurisprudence relating to religious liberty by taking religion seriously and engaging with it. I am sympathetic to the book's approach but I can't really see how it could result in practical solutions for the day to day legal problems that judges, lawyers, school principals and politicians face when confronting First Amendment issues. Still, the book takes the reader outside the current confusion of religion in American society and provides a refreshing perspective. It is certainly worth reading for anyone who wants to move past the polemics that we are normally faced with in this area.
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Format: Hardcover
Wowee!! I need to augment this review. I need to post something that contains in it, a clever way of taking what I wrote seriously by NOT taking it seriously. Oh, these reactionaries are so smart. The point they make is that Amazon reviewing is such a consuming passion, imaging me in some archetypal pajamas of blogdom, that such both refutes any point to made about the book negatively, and yet confirms it, since they actually wrote about this on a website called Prawfsblawg. The funny thing about their self-flattery, is that this appeared close two years ago, and I never noticed it. I guess I will have to don those pajamas more often to obsess about pettifogging Catholic theorists! Only by chance did I see it today. I have been too busy with serious thinkin' to notice. The hilarious part is that mere Amazon flotsam is important to these folks that they devote their own blopg posts to them. There is some potential sociological meaning in this. But don't expect these guys to figure it out. They are too busy trying to find a way to be hip (with material about Agnosticism) and yet have a Sunday School view of religiosity. Here's what they wrote:

"THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2011

Self-Promotion and Anti-Self-Promotion
Given all the discussion (sometimes interesting but mostly fruitless) about self-promotion of one's work on blogs, I thought I would offer one broader thought and one self-sacrificial offering.

First, I was interested by a claim by one of the commenters that one doesn't open the New York Times op-ed page to read someone engaging in self-promotion; one opens it to read interesting new ideas. This is a misconception. (And I don't mean that the ideas in New York Times op-eds are rarely new or interesting, although that is true.
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