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March 26, 2001

Program gets $600K grant
from Pew Trust

By Elaine Justice


Emory’s Law and Religion Program has received a $600,000, six-year grant to complete a two-phase study on Christian jurisprudence.

The project is part of a broader effort coordinated by the University of Notre Dame to stimulate and support new Christian scholarship in various academic fields.

It is supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, whose relationship with the Law and Religion Program dates to 1989.

Notre Dame is commissioning separate studies from eight groups of leading Christian scholars in the fields of law, philosophy, literature, political theory and economics, among others.

The first phase of the overall project addresses the general theme of “The Nature of the Human Person.” Notre Dame has engaged the Emory program to lead the team of legal scholars.

The legal team will complete a study of “Human Nature and Law: The Teachings of Modern Christianity.” The leaders of the project are Frank Alexander, co-director of the Law and Religion Program, and John Witte, director of both the Law and Religion Program and the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion, which is also supported by Pew Charitable Trusts.

They will head a team of leading Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox jurists, ethicists, philosophers and theologians from North America and Europe, including Timothy Jackson, professor of Christian ethics in the theology school.

The team will hold two conferences over the next three years, the first scheduled for April 5–6 at Emory, and will produce and publish two major works: an anthology of original articles analyzing major figures who have influenced modern Christian teachings on law, and a reader of freshly edited and translated texts.

The point of the study and its publication, Witte said, is “not to force modern Christian jurisprudence into tight, analytical categories, but to provide the start to a useful Christian grammar of and methodology on law for the 21st century.”

“Our goal,” Alexander said, “is to explore the depth and richness of the relationships between Christian theology and law and to gain a renewed foundation for the nature and function of law.”

The next phase of the overall project, commencing in 2003, will address “The Nature of Human Society” and will result in similar research and publication efforts.

The Pew Charitable Trusts support nonprofit activities in the areas of culture, education, the environment, health and human services, public policy and religion.

Based in Philadelphia, the Pew Charitable Trusts make strategic investments to help organizations and citizens develop practical solutions to difficult problems.

In 2000, with approximately $4.9 billion in assets, the trusts committed more then $235 million to 302 nonprofit organizations.


Back to Emory Report March 26, 2001