From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition

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In this new installment of Liberty Law Talk, I discuss with renowned legal historian John Witte the recent reissuing of his classic work, From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition. I discuss with Professor Witte the evolution of marriage law since the late Roman Empire and the pivotal aspects of the religious, public, and legal duties that were attendant upon marriage in the Roman law and Canon law traditions. The conversation then turns to the increasing role for the state in regulating marriage that emerged with the Protestant Reformation and its own dismissal of marriage as being legitimated and governed only by the church. Witte also explores the various aspects of Enlightenment thought on marriage and contemporary autonomistic thinking about marriage  and considers the consequences these have had for political and social order in the modern West.