Liberty and the Protestant Transformation of Law


Through a careful reading of Harold Berman’s Law and Revolution, II: The Impact of the Protestant Reformations on the Western Legal Tradition, as well as primary sources from the period, this conference examined differing conceptions of law that grew out of the Protestant Reformation. In particular, different polarities in law were explored—natural versus positive, common versus codified, historically mutable versus systematically anchored—and conferees considered which combinations best advance liberty.


Conference Readings

Berman, Harold J. Law and Revolution II: The Impact of the Protestant Reformations on Western Legal Traditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1846.

Coke, Edward. The Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, Volume 1. Edited by Steve Sheppard. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003.

Luther, Martin and John Calvin. Luther and Calvin on Secular Authority. Edited by Harro Hopfl. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Mahoney, Paul. “The Common Law and Economic Growth: Hayek Might be Right.” Journal of Legal Studies 30 (2001): 503-525.

McClellan, James. Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd edition). Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2000.