Religious Traditions and the Law

December 5, 2018
Religious Traditions and the Law event poster

Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame Law School; William S. Brewbaker III, William Alfred Rose Professor of Law, University of AlabamaSamuel J. Levine, Director of the Jewish Law Institute and Professor of Law, Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, Asifa Quraishi-Landes, Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School. Moderated by Chaim Saiman, Professor of Law, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Each of the Abrahamic religious traditions relates to the idea of law in a variety of different ways: as covenant between God and man, as an ordering principle of natural and human behavior, or as a human understanding of the command of God. Focusing on a few basic principles of American constitutionalism such as rule of law, separation of powers, and the role of institutions in legal interpretation, the panel will explore what these religious traditions have to contribute to our understanding of those principles, including alternatives to them. Can religious legal traditions offer any insights, contrasts or parallels to the American legal approach?  Has the American legal approach been informed by the religious legal approach as American law developed in the past?  Might the religious legal traditions inform, or improve upon the continuing development of American law in the future?  

Gerard V. Bradley is Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, where he teaches Constitutional Law. At Notre Dame he directs (with John Finnis) the Natural Law Institute and co-edits The American Journal of Jurisprudence, an international forum for legal philosophy. Professor Bradley has been a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University and is a Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute. He was a Visiting Professor of Politics at Princeton in 2009. He served for many years as President of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. Professor Bradley has published over one hundred scholarly articles and reviews. His most recent books are an edited collection of essays titled, Challenges to Religious Liberty in the Twenty-First Century, published by Cambridge University Press in 2012, and Essays on Law, Religion, and Morality, published by Saint Augustine’s Press in 2014. Next year Cambridge will publish Catholic Social Teaching: Content, History, Critique, which he edited with Christian Brugger.Professor Bradley is currently working on a book about regulating obscenity in the Internet Age. He received his B.A. and his J.D. from Cornell University.

William S. Brewbaker III is Rose Professor of Law at the Hugh F. Culverhouse, Jr. School of Law at the University of Alabama, where he teaches courses in health care law, property law, and Christian legal thought. He writes mainly about the relationship between Christian theology and law and is co-editor (with Patrick M. Brennan) of Christian Legal Thought: Materials and Cases. Before joining the University of Alabama School of Law faculty in 1993, Professor Brewbaker practiced law in Birmingham, Alabama, and did graduate work in health care law at Duke University. During the 2001-2002 academic year, he was a Visitor of the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge, a Visiting Fellow of St. Edmund's College, and a Member of Tyndale House. Professor Brewbaker earned his B.A. from Vanderbilt University, his J.D. from the University of Virginia, and his LL.M. from Duke University. 

Samuel J. Levine is a Professor of Law and Director of the Jewish Law Institute at Touro Law Center. He previously served as the Beznos Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University College of Law, and he has taught at the law schools at Bar-Ilan, Fordham, Pepperdine, and St. John’s Universities. He has been described by the Detroit Legal News as “one of the world’s foremost experts on the interplay of Jewish and American law” and in the pages of the Notre Dame Law Review as “one of the leading legal-ethics and professional-responsibility scholars of his generation.” Professor Levine received his J.D. from Fordham Law School, graduating cum laude and Order of the Coif, his LL.M. from Columbia Law School, graduating with Highest Honors as a James Kent Scholar, and his Rabbinical Ordination from Yeshiva University. 

Asifa Quraishi-Landes is Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, specializing in comparative Islamic and U.S. constitutional law, with a current focus on modern Islamic constitutional theory. She is a 2009 Carnegie Scholar and 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. Her recent publications include “Not Your Father’s Islamic State: Islamic Constitutionalism for Today’s Sharia-Minded Muslims,” and “Legislating Morality and Other Illusions about Islamic Government.”  She is currently working on a book titled "Islamic Re-constitutionalism," which presents a non-theocratic and non-secular model of Islamic constitutionalism for today’s Muslim-majority countries. She has served as a Public Delegate on the United States Delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the Task Force on Religion and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and as advisor to the Pew Task Force on Religion & Public Life. She currently serves on the governing board of the Section on Islamic Law for the Association of American Law Schools, the Muslim Public Service Network, and Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School. Professor Quraishi-Landes received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, her J.D. from the University of California at Davis, her LL.M. from Columbia Law School, and her S.J.D. from Harvard Law School. 

Chaim Saiman is Professor of Law in the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, where he teaches Contracts, Insurance Law, Insurance Coverage Disputes, Jewish Law, and Legislation. He is a scholar of Jewish law, insurance law and private law, and has just published Halakhah: The Rabbinic Idea of Law with Princeton University Press. Professor Saiman served as the Gruss Visiting Professor of Talmudic Law at both Harvard Law School and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto, Bar-Ilan, Hebrew University, and IDC Faculties of Law. Professor Saiman has also served as an arbitrator on rabbinical courts and as an expert witness in insurance law and Jewish law in federal court. Prior to joining the faculty at Villanova, he was an Olin Fellow at Harvard Law School, a Golieb Fellow at NYU Law School, a law clerk to Judge Michael McConnell on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and worked as a corporate associate with the firm Cleary Gottlieb in New York. Professor Saiman received his B.S. from Georgia State University and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. He also studied for a number of years at Yeshivat Har-Etzion (Gush) and Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel.


Religious Traditions and the Law


McCormick Hall 101

Cosponsored by:

  • Princeton University Library

Funded by:

The Bouton Law Lecture Fund

Photo Album:

  • Religious Traditions photo
  • Religious Traditions photo
  • Religious Traditions photo