Mirror of Justice

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Law and Religion -- and Harold Berman

If you have occasion to visit Atlanta and have time, seize the opportunity to visit the exhibition described by Mark Engsberg, Director of Emory's Law Library, in this communication:

I am pleased to announce the Emory Law Archives’ first exhibition: "Love is the Cardinal Virtue for the Next Millennium: the Papers of Harold J. Berman.”
 
The exhibition is curated by our archivist, Joanna Claire Rogers.  It is located in the library’s new display case across from the circulation and reference desks, just inside the Library’s main entrance.
 
The materials in this collection document Professor Berman's activities as a faculty member at Harvard University and Emory University; his work as a writer, lecturer, and consultant; and his intellectual development as an historian.  A few of the items on display include: a portrait of Berman, circa 1960; a letter from Berman to his mentor, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, describing Berman’s conversion to Christianity; a letter from Ralph Nader, a former student of Berman’s; Berman’s response to a critique of the manuscript of Law and Revolution, circa 1982; and a letter to Professor Leon Trakman describing Berman’s new life at Emory.  
 
Summary written by Joanna Claire Rogers:
 
Harold Joseph Berman (1918-2007) was a pioneer in the legal academy.  Educated at Dartmouth College, the London School of Economics, and Yale University, he cultivated from his earliest scholarly days an interest in Western legal history that grew into the discipline of law and religion, now a major field of study and inquiry.  With his broad mind and linguistic talent, he mastered several other fields, including Soviet law and the law of international trade. 
 
In 1948 Berman joined the faculty of Harvard Law School, where he instructed several generations of law students and graduate liberal arts students.  He established relationships with scholars in the U.S.S.R. and other eastern European countries, and he traveled to the Soviet Union many times.  In addition to teaching and writing, Berman worked as a consultant to law firms and businessmen on legal aspects of trade and investment in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
 
Later in his career, Berman pursued his interest in the dialectics of law and religion in Western history.  In 1974, he published The Interaction of Law and Religion, a collection of lectures he had delivered at Boston University in 1971.  His major work, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition, was published in 1983, and won the American Bar Association’s SCRIBES Book Award. 
 
Berman left Harvard in 1985 to become the first Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory University.  He aided in the development of Emory’s interdisciplinary law and religion program, founded in 1982, now known as the Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR).  He was also a Senior Fellow at CSLR.   
 
Professor Berman wrote twenty-five books and more than 400 articles, and he taught more than 10,000 students.  He was widely admired for his original thinking, his facility for teaching, and his engaging personality. 
 
Please visit the Law Library soon and see the wealth of Professor Berman’s materials on display.

 

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