March 26, 2001
Program gets $600K
By Elaine Justice
Emorys 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
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
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
The team will hold two conferences over the next three years, the first
scheduled for April 56 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
In 2000, with approximately $4.9 billion in assets, the trusts committed more then $235 million to 302 nonprofit organizations.