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Professors Whitman ’88 and Hamburger ’82 To Debate Church-State Separation and the Theological Roots of Law

Yale Law Professor James Q. Whitman ’88 and Columbia Law Professor Philip Hamburger ’82 will debate “Whither Are We Bound? Church-State Separation and the Theological Roots of Law” on Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 12:10 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in Room 120. The debate is free and open to the public, with lunch provided. It is part of the monthly “Debating Law & Religion” series.

James Q. Whitman is the Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law at Yale Law School and the author of “The Origins of Reasonable Doubt: Theological Roots of the Criminal Trial” (2007). Philip Hamburger is the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and the author of “Separation of Church and State” (2002).

They will consider, among other questions:

• How should a pluralist society composed of the religious, the a-religious, and the anti-religious relate to legal systems whose roots can be traced in large part to theological influences?

• Do secular Western societies have anything to gain in exploring the theological pedigree of their present values?

• Why is the United States, formally one of the most secular of democracies, so deeply religious?

• Is the effort to separate church and state doomed as long as religion remains embedded in the legal and social world?

Launched in spring 2011 and sponsored by the Dean’s Office, “Debating Law & Religion” is a monthly series of lectures at Yale Law School aimed at creating a formal forum to voice and debate diverse views on a broad range of issues relating to law and religion.