12 January 2019, Winter Meeting
Institute of Historical Research, London
The Winter Meeting continues with the 57th Summer Conference 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