Law, Revolution and Religion: Harold Berman's Interpretation of the English Revolution

Journal of Markets & Morality, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 355-385, Fall 2005

35 Pages Posted: 10 May 2006

See all articles by Nicholas Aroney

Nicholas Aroney

The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law; Emory University - Center for the Study of Law and Religion

Abstract

This article offers a sympathetic critique of Harold Berman's interpretation of the interaction between law and religion in seventeenth-century England. Berman's general historical account of what he calls the Western Legal Tradition is shaped by an organising thesis about the relationship between law and revolution, supplemented by a secondary thesis about the role of religion in the development of Western law. However, Berman's description of the English Revolution is weakened by a failure to define and distinguish with sufficient clarity the great variety of Protestant religious teachings of the day. As a consequence, the potential impact of these beliefs on the law of England is not fully explored, and this makes it difficult to determine the extent to which the religious beliefs of particular Protestant parties shaped the future development of the Western legal tradition. Berman provides us, therefore, with a brilliant and provocative, and yet ultimately attenuated, account of law and religion in seventeenth-century England.

Keywords: Harold Berman, law, revolution, religion, English revolution, Puritan revolution, Protestantism, Calvinism, western legal tradition

JEL Classification: N430, Z120

Suggested Citation

Aroney, Nicholas, Law, Revolution and Religion: Harold Berman's Interpretation of the English Revolution. Journal of Markets & Morality, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 355-385, Fall 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=900467

Nicholas Aroney (Contact Author)

The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law ( email )

Brisbane 4072, Queensland
Australia
+61-(0)7-3365 3053 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://researchers.uq.edu.au/researcher/104

Emory University - Center for the Study of Law and Religion ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cslr.law.emory.edu/people/faculty/aroney-nicholas.html

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