The latest discussion on Liberty Law Talk is now available. In this podcast, I speak with John Witte of Emory Law School about his classic work From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition, which was recently reissued in a second edition. The podcast traces the book’s invaluable account of the changing legal, social, religious, and political status of the institution of marriage beginning in the late Roman Empire and then considers the revolution in thought launched by the sacramentalization of marriage beginning in the early Catholic Church, which is then carried to completion in the medieval period. Professor Witte also explores the contribution of the Reformation to marriage’s public and religious status and modern developments to marriage launched by the various forms of Enlightenment thinking. Our discussion also features Professor Witte’s thoughts on the increasing roles privacy and autonomy have played as the basis of marriage in the twentieth century and the consequences that have resulted from this emphasis.
Until recently, our common law has always assumed that faith has a place in society.
Democracies need all the help they can get, including religion, to muster the better angels of ourselves for the sacrifice that sustains decent politics.