EHS Conference 2018-19: The Church and the Law

24-26 July 2018
Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge

In 2018 the 57th Summer Conference will be on the theme of The Church and the Law. As ever, the intention is to attract a broad spectrum of papers from across the history of Christianity.

This theme addresses the legal issues and legal consequences underlying relations between secular and religious authorities in the context of the Christian church, from its earliest emergence within Roman Palestine as a persecuted minority sect through to the period when it became legally recognised within the Roman empire, its many institutional manifestations in East and West throughout the middle ages, the reconfigurations associated with the Reformation and Counter- Reformation, the legal and constitutional complications (such as in Reformation England or Calvin’s Geneva), and the variable consequences of so-called secularisation thereafter. On many occasions in recent years, moreover, we have been confronted with contemporary discrepancies, contradictions, and even rejection of secular laws, modern social mores or social attitudes. What were the legal consequences and implications of the Reformation, (including the confiscation and restitution of property), of the French wars of religion; the French Revolution; the political transformations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? Are there particular influences on the formation of ecclesiastical law (the Bible, Roman law, national law codes)? The engagement of secular and religious authorities with the law and what that law actually comprised (Roman law, canon law, national laws, state and royal edicts) are further issues to be addressed. This is also a theme that requires the examination of the formation of bodies of law and how and why it became recognised as law. The formation of canon law is a case in point. There is also the problem of definition. How early, for example, can a ‘code of canon law’ be defined, and what are the processes by which opinion and conciliar decision became perceived as ‘law’? What light does the transmission and reception of ‘canon law’ throw on such questions?

Delegates are encouraged to range widely within the theme. Possible case studies might include:

-  court cases
-  ​legal challenges to authority
-  discussions of legal culture and legal practice
-  legally orchestrated clashes between secular and ecclesiastical law
-  legal documents of many kinds

Please be aware of the following deadlines:
Proposal deadlines: 31 December 2017 (for those who need early decisions for funding applications); 31 March (final deadline) The proposal form is available here. 

Postgraduate students should also be aware that the EHS offers a number of generous bursaries which cover the FULL COST of attending the conference, and half bursaries for those who already have some funding from other sources. Forms for these bursaries are available here, and must be returned by 31st March.

Booking forms and a timetable will appear on the website closer to the time.

Story type: