March 22, 2004

Law symposium features Woodruff professors

By Eric Rangus


The highest honor Emory can bestow upon a faculty member is the Woodruff professorship. That fact makes "The Foundations of Law" an exceptional event.

On one day in one place--March 25 in the Tull Auditorium--the School of Law's four Woodruff professors: Harold Berman, Michael Perry and Martha Fineman, all Robert W. Woodruff Professors of Law; and Martin Marty, Robert W. Woodruff Visiting Professor of Interdisciplinary Religious Studies, will gather for a one-day celebration of scholarship.

Each will deliver a lecture followed by a response and panel discussion with three Emory law school colleagues. "The Foundations of Law," which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the law school, the Law and Religion Program and the Emory Law Journal .

"We are fortunate to have among us four great scholars who are offering their wisdom to the public on issues so prevalent and controversial in today's world--how law has been shaped by history, moral values, society and religion," said law school Dean Thomas Arthur.

Following a continental breakfast at 8:15 a.m., Arthur and John Witte, Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and director of the Law and Religion Program, will give opening remarks. After two presentations, attendees will break for lunch at 12:30 p.m., and the day will conclude with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m.

Looking to take advantage of the good fortune of having such a notable and diverse group of professors on campus at one time, Witte led the effort to put together this first-time event. Plans are to continue it next year with Marc Miller, law professor and associate dean for faculty and scholarship, leading the organization. Miller will be one of the faculty respondents (to Fineman's address) at this year's symposium.

Each Woodruff professor's lecture is tied into a recently released publication, and they will take the podium in this order:

9 a.m., Berman, "The Historical Foundations of Law."

Berman was named Woodruff professor in 1985 following 37 years on the faculty at Harvard. He is author of more than 400 articles and 25 books, the most recent being Law and Revolution II: The Impact of the Protestant Reformations on the Western Legal Tradition (Harvard University Press, 2003). Last year he became director of the World Law Institute of Emory University. His lecture will focus on the impact of the Protestant Reformation on Western legal tradition.

11 a.m., Perry, "The Moral Foundations of Law."

Perry joined Emory in fall 2003. He had been University Distinguished Chair in Law at Wake Forest University since 1997. He currently is working on a book titled Human Rights as Morality, Human Rights as Law. The most recent of his eight previous books is Under God? Religious Faith and Liberal Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2003). He will discuss the moral foundations of human rights.

2 p.m., Fineman, "The Social Foundations of Law."

Fineman, the school's most recent Woodruff professor, came to Emory in January. She is founder and director of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, an interdisciplinary examination of law and policy topics of interest to women. Her third book, T he Autonomy of Myth: A Theory of Dependence (The New Press, 2004), was released last month. She will touch on themes of her new book, which includes an exploration of the contradiction between the American myth of self-reliance and the reality of an interdependent society.

4 p.m., Marty, "The Religious Foundations of Law."

Marty, a 35-year member of the faculty at the University of Chicago, is in residence at Emory this academic year. He is co-directing "The Child in Law, Religion and Society," a project of the Center for the Interdisci-plinary Study of Religion (CISR). His most recent publication is Martin Luther (Viking Penguin Lives Series, 2004). Marty will discuss his work with CISR as well as his new and previous books such as his five-volume series on fundamentalism.

An expanded version of the lectures and the accompanying responses will be published in the Emory Law Journal .