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Law and the Church Fathers

Lossl, Josef ORCID: 2023. Law and the Church Fathers. Witte, John and Domingo, Rafael, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 31-44. (10.1093/oxfordhb/9780197606759.001.0001)

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This book chapter covers aspects related to law and the Church Fathers. It begins with an overview over who the Church Fathers were and how they thought about and dealt with law. It understands ‘Church Fathers’ not merely as a group of people in history (a specific group of early Christians, leading intellectuals and bishops) but also as a quasi-normative entity, a body of teaching, which has shaped legal thinking in the Christian tradition until today. Vice versa, the chapter takes into consideration that law was something early Christians encountered in their secular environment but also something they themselves developed and cultivated, as a form of Christian law, and how these two are connected, and how they differ. The chapter goes on to discuss some relevant concepts developed by Church Fathers, ‘divine law’, ‘natural law’, ‘freedom of religion’, ‘citizenship’, ‘the common good’ and ‘the moral conscience’. It does so considering classical and biblical sources and the late-ancient contexts of these concepts as well as their reception in later periods. It engages in particular with Origen’s concept of a ‘freedom of conscience’ and Augustine’s ideas on citizenship, law and the common good. The chapter finishes by briefly touching upon the relevance of these ideas today.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: In Press
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-760675-9
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 July 2023
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2023 13:30

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