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From Sacrament to Contract, Second Edition: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition Paperback – January 31, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"From Sacrament to Contract is a penetrating study of five conflicting models of marriage and their impact on domestic legislation and organization over the last millennium. Rarely has the interaction of religious belief, law, and marriage been so incisively illuminated. This book is a touchstone for a new intellectual history of religion." Steven Ozment, McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History, Harvard University [praise for the first edition]



"From Sacrament to Contract takes the reader on a fascinating tour through the legal, philosophical, and religious ideas that have shaped and reshaped Western thinking about the relations between men and women. Concise and forward-looking, Witte’s monograph makes a wise and welcome contribution to current conversations about the present and future status of marriage in our society." Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University



"This book, by the leading scholar in the field, provides a readable and insightful exposition. In addition to addressing questions of law, religion, history, and sociology, Witte provides a spiritual meditation on what it means to be a human: a husband, wife, mother, father, or child. To believers this book will bring instruction and enlightenment; to others it will bring understanding." Michael W. McConnell, Mallery Professor of Law and Director of the Constitutional Law Center, Stanford Law School, and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution



"This book should long be the standard reference for anyone interested in knowing how Europeans have sought to connect the personal and the public in the family life." The Christian Century [praise for the first edition]

"From Sacrament to Contract is a magisterial work in the history of marriage, nuptial theology, and marriage law. John Witte is that rare combination of a first-rate legal scholar and a historical theologian." David Novak, J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies, University of Toronto



"Witte provides what is unquestionably the finest history of western marriage in the Christian epoch." The Journal of Law and Religion [praise for the first edition]

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. A world-renowned expert on church and state, he is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on the subject.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 2 edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664234321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664234324
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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I purchased this book just a few weeks prior to president Obama's announcement in support of same-sex marriages. No matter your position on the issue this book is a must read in order to have a well rounded and comprehensive understanding of marriage in western civilization. It is packed full of information that details the multi-faceted nature of marriage, including social, spiritual, natural, and contractual perspectives. It also does a wonderful job of showing how major Christian traditions have approached marriage as well as post-enlightenment thinking. If you want to have an intelligent discussion on marriage that goes beyond sound bites and tweets then this is a must read. It is an historical approach and does not promote a position on things like same-sex marriage or any of the other issues so common under the topic of marriage. What it will do is give you all the information you need to make an informed decision and be able to explain your decision clearly.
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I teach a course on Chrisitan marriage and related ethics of sex, and this book is absolutely indispensable for a historical survey of Christian thinking on marriage and how that thinking affected Western culture and law for 20 centuries. A terrific book.
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I took a course with this professor and he is a man of incredibly incisive intellect and the book is one of the best summaries on the evolution of marriage in the west
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I had no idea about the history of marriage before I read this book. It's a fascinating insight into the different forms of Christian Western marriage and made the class I was taking fun (where I thought it was a dreary prospect). Would thoroughly recommend, even if just out of an interest. It's an incredibly accessible book for those from a non-religious background.
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