Wednesday, February 7, 2018
A few days ago, in New York, I had the pleasure and privilege of participating -- along with several other MOJ-ers -- in a (efficient and well-organized!) conference on the new Foundation casebook - "Christian Legal Thought: Cases and Materials" -- edited by our own Patrick Brennan and MOJ-friend Prof. Bill Brewbaker. I hope law professors all over the country use the book, and offer the course. And, I hope other MOJ-ers will weigh in.
My own remarks focused (predictably) on the centrality to "Christian Legal Thought" of moral anthropology, a theme that, I am pleased to report, figures prominently in the casebook.
The first panel featured Angela Carmella (Seton Hall), Michael Moreland (Villanova), and David Skeel (Penn). Angela's remarks focused on one of her own areas of expertise, i.e., church-state relations, and on the question whether there is a distinctively Christian account of those relations. Michael expounded on the often-misunderstood but crucially important idea of "subsidiarity." He clarified its content and explained its roots. And, David Skeel reflected, riffing on the "we've come a long way, baby" slogan, on changes in the landscape since the publication almost 20 years ago of the McConnell, Cochran, and Carmella volume, "Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought."
The second panel featured Randy Beck (Georgia), Patrick Brennan (Villanova), and some other guy (me). Randy reflected instructively on his own experiences teaching a Christian Legal Thought course. I threw out some Cormac McCarthy-invoking thoughts on the relevance of "who are we and why are we here?" questions for law. Finally, Patrick pulled together the various strands, responded to a range of points, and was effusively grateful. (We all prayed for Bill Brewbaker, who was not able to be present, because of a family emergency.)
I'm grateful to St. John's, and to my colleagues -- especially Marc DeGirolami and Mark Movsesian, and the great group of St. John's students! -- for an enjoyable, illuminating, and affirming time!