At Emory University, students can explore courses in law and religion offered by Emory Law, Candler School of Theology, the Department of Religion, and the Graduate Division of Religion. These robust course offerings allow students to investigate the legal, theological, historical, sociological, and anthropological dimensions of law and religion. Some examples of past courses at Emory that engage with law and religion include American Legal History, Contemporary Christian Ethics, International Humanitarian Law, Islam in America, Rabbinic Judaism and Literature, Law and Society in Judaism and Beyond, Religion and Health in Context, and Socially Engaged Buddhism. Many are cross-listed for credit in law, theology, and religion.
Core CSLR faculty and fellows regularly teach courses in law and religion at the Law School, including:
School: LawCanon Law, the law of the Catholic Church, stands at the origin of the Western Legal Tradition and is one of the chief sources of legal concepts and principles we take for granted today. This course will explore the theological and historical background of Canon Law, as well as contemporary Canon Law practice and principles set out in the 1983 Code of Canon Law and post-1983 legislation. The course will cover such topics as marriage and family life; clerical conduct and misconduct; church governance at the universal, intermediary, and local levels; the interwoven roles of the papacy, bishops, synod of bishops, college of cardinals, and Roman Curia; the division of church power among provinces and regions, metropolitans, particular councils, and local parishes; and some controverted questions concerning the rights and obligations of ordained diocesan clerics.
Religious liberty is one of the hallmarks of modern constitutional democracies, though it has come under considerable attack in recent years. This course analyzes the historical formation and current interpretation of the religious liberty guarantees of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Part I of the course explores the original meaning of the First Amendment guarantees of no establishment and free exercise of religion viewed in colonial and broader Western context. Part II analyzes the guarantees of free exercise and expression of religion guaranteed by First Amendment free exercise and free speech clauses and recent complementary statutes. Topics include religious liberty claims to polygamy, proselytism, Sabbath day observance, religious worship, ritual, and dress, and claims by religious individuals and groups to exemptions from general laws. It also includes the heated clashes between religious liberty and sexual liberty claims. Part III traces the requirements of no establishment of religion, particularly in cases concerning the role of religion in public education, the place of government in religious education, and the place of religious symbols and ceremonies in public and political life. Part IV analyzes the complex relationships between religious organizations and government. Topics include tax funding and exemptions for religious groups, the powers and limits of religious organizations to resolve their own internal disputes over polity and property, and their power to discipline their leaders and members for their beliefs, moral behavior, or sexual orientation.
School: LawIslamic finance is an increasingly important sector of the international finance market. No longer limited to the Middle East or Southeast Asia, there is growing interest in this market on the part of non- Muslim customers, investors, and financial institutions, and sharia-compliant financial services and products are currently offered more than 70 countries, including in the U.K. and the U.S. Yet despite its dynamic growth and future potential, the Islamic financial industry remains relatively unknown in the United States. This course is designed as an intensive basic introduction to Islamic (or sharia-compliant) finance and banking. It will explore the hows and whys behind the industry, its ethical and legal underpinnings, and how it interacts with the U.S. and other legal systems. No previous familiarity with the field is necessary and there are no course prerequisites. All readings will be in English.
School: LawThis course will introduce students to the nature, sources and techniques of Islamic Law (Shari`a), and its main concepts, principles, and rules. Class discussions will also focus on the relationship between Shari`a and modern legal systems, as well as its social and cultural impact on present Islamic societies. Following a discussion of the nature, sources, and early development of Shari`a, students will review the main substantive aspects of this legal tradition, namely, property and transactions, family law, criminal law, and constitutional law and inter-communal (international) law. Lastly, the course will look at the relationship between Shari`a and the legal systems of modern states, through an examination of the legal systems of Iran and Pakistan.
School: LawThis course will survey the principles Jewish (or Talmudic) law uses to address difficult legal issues and will compare these principles to those that guide legal discussion in America. In particular, this course will focus on issues raised by advances in medical technology such as surrogate motherhood, artificial insemination, and organ transplant. Through discussion of these difficult topics, many areas of Jewish law will be surveyed.
School: LawIn this course, students will survey the interdisciplinary field of law and religion. The course will begin by discussing the nature of the field known as law and religion. What areas of inquiry constitute this field? What do we mean when we talk about "law" and "religion"? The course will then cover different substantive areas and methodological approaches by reading, analyzing, and critiquing examples of law and religion scholarship from leading scholars. Students will be asked to think about the choices that scholars make: What is the relationship of law and religion in this example of scholarship? What does the scholar draw on as evidence for her argument? How does the scholar construct his argument? How does the scholar think about law? How does the scholar think about religion? These and other questions will help students understand how different approaches function; what they can achieve; what they cannot achieve; and why a scholar would choose a certain approach. By the conclusion of the course, students will (1) understand the scope and subjects covered by the field of law and religion, (2) develop an understanding of different methodological approaches to the study of law and religion, and (3) be prepared to use different methodological approaches in their own writing.
School: LawThe topic of law and religion often brings to mind the First Amendment, full stop. While constitutional law no doubt plays a critical role in how issues involving religion are adjudicated in the United States today, there are a number of other areas in which religion shows up in legal practice. Building upon a constitutional law foundation, the course will explore the ways in which employment, education (Title IX), property and zoning, tax, arbitration, criminal (hate crimes), and immigration law encounter religion. The course will also examine religion as it appears in different types of legal practice, including litigation, arbitration, and policymaking. The course will pay particular attention to how religion, religious practice, and religious people are constructed in/by law. The course will also provide students with opportunities to explore questions and decisions faced by attorneys who represent religious clients (individuals or corporations) and/or who encounter religion on the other side of the “v.”
School: LawDebates rage worldwide over what role religion and culture should play in law and governance and whether granting them a role conflicts with democratic principles. Increasingly, religious and ethnic groups are demanding that religious and cultural practices form the basis of the legal system or, at the very least, a separate legal system governing only their members. Western policymakers are finding it difficult to respond to these claims. While they see them as possibly antithetical to the principles of tolerance and equality built into liberal democratic theory, there is something uncomfortable about rejecting these demands when they come from a majority of a population or from a minority group that has suffered severe discrimination. This course will explore the issues that arise in the debates about the appropriate role for religion and culture in democratic governance. It will examine different models for incorporating religion and culture into law as well as at models that wholly reject this incorporation using case studies from the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Students or prospective students interested in courses as part of the law and religion concentration within the JD program can read more about the concentration’s course requirements here.
More information can be found at the following links:
- Emory Law School Course Descriptions
- Candler School of Theology Course Descriptions
- Laney Graduate School Graduate Division of Religion Course Descriptions