John Witte Jr.





John Witte Jr.


Born
in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
August 14, 1959

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John Witte Jr. (b.1959) is the Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Ethics, Alonzo L. McDonald Distinguished Professor, and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University (Atlanta, GA).

Professor Witte specializes in legal history, religious liberty, and marriage law.

Average rating: 4.03 · 150 ratings · 20 reviews · 56 distinct works · Similar authors
Religion and the American C...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 27 ratings — published 1999 — 6 editions
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The Reformation of Rights: ...

4.18 avg rating — 17 ratings — published 2007 — 3 editions
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From Sacrament to Contract:...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 19 ratings — published 1997 — 4 editions
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Law and Protestantism: The ...

4.36 avg rating — 11 ratings — published 1998 — 4 editions
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God's Joust, God's Justice:...

4.18 avg rating — 11 ratings — published 2006
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Christianity and Law: An In...

3.80 avg rating — 10 ratings — published 2008 — 2 editions
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Sex, Marriage, and Family i...

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4.22 avg rating — 9 ratings — published 2005 — 2 editions
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Religion and Human Rights: ...

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4.40 avg rating — 5 ratings — published 2011 — 4 editions
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The Sins of the Fathers: Th...

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4.33 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2009 — 2 editions
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Religion and the American C...

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“The Reformation's splintering of Western Christendom into competing religious polities--each with its own preferred forms and norms of religious governance--led to religious warfare and persecution, on the one hand, and to corresponding movements toward religious freedom, on the other. In the 1570's, for example, the Spanish monarch Philip II (1527-1598), who was also Lord of the Netherlands, ordered a bloody inquisition and eventually declared war against the growing population of Dutch Protestants, ultimately killing thousands of them and confiscating huge portions of private property. Phillips's actions sparked a revolt by the seven northern provinces of the Netherlands, who relived heavily on Calvinist principles of revolution. Presaging American developments two centuries later, these Dutch revolutionaries established a confederate government by the Union of Utrecht of 1579, which required that "each person must enjoy freedom of religion, and no one may be persecuted or questioned about his religion." In 1581 the confederacy issued a declaration of independence, called the Act of Abjuration, invoking "the law of nature" and the "ancient rights, privileges, and liberties" of the people in justification of its revolutionary actions. When the war was settled, each of the seven Dutch provinces instituted its own constitution. These provincial constitution were among the most religiously tolerant of the day and helped to render the Netherlands both a haven for religious dissenters from throughout Europe and a point of departure for American colonists, from the Mayflower Pilgrims of 1620 onward. When later comparing this sixteenth-century Dutch experience with the eighteenth-century American experience, American founder John Adams wrote: "The Originals of the two Republicks are so much alike, that the History of one seems but a Transcript from that of the other.”
John Witte Jr., Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment: Fourth Edition

“The American founders did not create their experiment in religious liberty out of nothing. The principles of religious liberty outlined in the First Amendment were a part and product of nearly two centuries of colonial experience, and nearly two millennia of European history and thought.”
John Witte Jr., Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment: Fourth Edition

“We see the novelty of the eighteenth-century American experiment in disestablishing a national religion and granting religious freedom to all peaceable believers, but we also find important prototypes for these developments in earlier eras. The American founders revolutionized the Western understanding of the church-state relations and religious liberty. But they ultimately remained firmly within the Western tradition, dependent on its enduring and evolving postulates about God and humanity, authority and liberty, church and state.”
John Witte Jr., Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment: Fourth Edition

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