Theological Argument in Law: Engaging with Stanley Hauerwas

August 26, 2011Duke Law News

The work of noted Duke University theologian and public intellectual Stanley Hauerwas will be the focus of a conference at Duke Law School on Sept. 9. “Theological Argument in Law: Engaging With Stanley Hauerwas,” will feature scholars from a range of disciplines discussing Hauerwas’s work as it relates to legal and political theory generally, and a broad range of specific topics ranging from disability law to bioethics.

The conference begins at 8:45 a.m. in room 3043 of Duke Law School, located on Duke University’s West Campus. It is free and open to the public. Parking is available at Duke’s Bryan Center. To RSVP, click here.

Duke’s oldest law journal, Law & Contemporary Problems, is sponsoring the event, along with the Duke Program in Public Law, Duke Divinity School and the Franklin Humanities Institute, and the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. L&CP will publish a symposium issue of papers presented.

Hauerwas, the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School, holds a joint appointment at the Law School. He has focused his research and writing on recovering the significance of the virtues for understanding the nature of the Christian life, emphasizing the importance of the church, as well as the role of narrative for understanding Christian existence. His largely interdisciplinary work addresses systematic theology, philosophical theology and ethics, political theory, as well as the philosophy of social science and medical ethics. Conference organizer John Inazu pointed out the relevance of Hauerwas’s work to law, in particular.

"He has written for decades about issues central to the law: violence, liberalism, bioethics, theories of disability, theories of interpretation, capital punishment, just war theory, reconciliation, public reason, patriotism, euthanasia, abortion, and religious freedom, to name only a few of the more obvious connections,” said Inazu ’00, an associate professor of law and political science at Washington University in St. Louis, and until recently a visiting assistant professor at Duke Law.

Conference participants, in addition to Hauerwas and Inazu, include Professor Guy-Uriel Charles of Duke Law, Paul Griffiths, the Warren Professor of Catholic Theology at Duke Divinity School, H. Jefferson Powell, the Lyle T. Alverson Professor of Law at The George Washington University, and Professor W. Bradley Wendel ’94 of Cornell University Law School.

Hauerwas was named "America’s Best Theologian" by Time in 2001 and delivered the prestigious Gifford Lectureship at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, that year. He has authored A Community of Character: Toward a Constructive Christian Social Ethic, (University of Notre Dame Press, 1991), Matthew: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2006), and The State of the University: Academic Knowledges and the Knowledge of God, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007).

For more information contact Forrest Norman at (919) 613-8565.