Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226070780 Published May 2007
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226070797 Published October 2008

The Law of God

The Philosophical History of an Idea

Rémi Brague

Rémi Brague

Translated by Lydia G. Cochrane
384 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2007
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226070780 Published May 2007
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226070797 Published October 2008
The law of God: these words conjure an image of Moses breaking the tablets at Mount Sinai, but the history of the alliance between law and divinity is so much longer, and its scope so much broader, than a single Judeo-Christian scene can possibly suggest. In his stunningly ambitious new history, Rémi Brague goes back three thousand years to trace this idea of divine law in the West from prehistoric religions to modern times—giving new depth to today’s discussions about the role of God in worldly affairs.
          
Brague masterfully describes the differing conceptions of divine law in Judaic, Islamic, and Christian traditions and illuminates these ideas with a wide range of philosophical, political, and religious sources. In conclusion, he addresses the recent break in the alliance between law and divinity—when modern societies, far from connecting the two, started to think of law simply as the rule human community gives itself. Exploring what this disconnection means for the contemporary world, Brague—powerfully expanding on the project he began with The Wisdom of the World—re-engages readers in a millennia-long intellectual tradition, ultimately arriving at a better comprehension of our own modernity.
 
“Brague’s sense of intellectual adventure is what makes his work genuinely exciting to read. The Law of God offers a challenge that anyone concerned with today’s religious struggles ought to take up.”—Adam Kirsch, New York Sun
 
“Scholars and students of contemporary world events, to the extent that these may be viewed as a clash of rival fundamentalisms, will have much to gain from Brague’s study. Ideally, in that case, the book seems to be both an obvious primer and launching pad for further scholarship.”—Times Higher Education Supplement 
Adam Kirsch | New York Sun
"Brague's sense of intellectual adventure is what makes his work genuinely exciting to read. The Law of God offers a challenge that anyone concerned with today's religious struggles ought to take up."
Patrick, Mooney | Times Higher Education Supplement
"Scholars and students of contemporary world events, to the extent that these may be viewed as a clash of rival fundamentalisms, will have much to gain from Brague's study. Ideally, in that case, the book seems to be both an obvious primer and launching pad for further scholarship. In such circles, it is not inconceivable that the book may acquire something of a canonical status."
Jean-Luc Marion, author of God without Being

“This new book by Rémi Brague features the same outstanding scholarship and skills that have characterized his previous works: deep knowledge of the languages, as well as an extensive mastery of the theology, philosophy, and religious thought of ancient and medieval Islam, Judaism, and Western and Eastern Christianity. With an impressive genealogy, he traces the roots of modernity back to these three intellectual traditions that have worked together (and fought each other) through history. And we cannot ignore the possibility that this triple origin may frame our future as much as, or even more than, anything postmodernity might allow us to foresee.”<Jean-Luc Marion, author of God without Being>

 

Lawrence S. Cunningham | Commonweal
"A brilliant piece of intellectual history. . . . Determining the boundaries and interconnections of natural and revealed law still keeps Christians busy. I applaud the way Brague clarifies what is so often muddled in our own less-than-expert understanding of the history of the law."
Michael P. Orsi | Touchstone
"Because religion has reemerged as a powerful political force . . . Brague's analysis of the notion of the divine law is an invaluable resource for understanding the underlying dynamic that motivates human beings. . . . Brague offers a fascinating overview of how each scriptural source--the Torah, the New Testament, and the Koran--interprets divine law. Also valuable is his survey of the work of scholars who have tried to discern the practical implications of each faith's understanding of where and how law originates."
Contents
Preface
Translator’s Note
Introduction

PART I ORIGINS 
1 Prehistory 
2 The Greek Idea of Divine Law 
3 Historical Conditions of Alliance 

PART II THE DIVINE LAW 
4 The State and the Law: Ancient Israel 
5 The Legislation of the Sacred Books 

PART III SUCCESSION THROUGH TIME 
6 Mother Religions and Daughter Religions 
7 The Law as Enforced 

PART IV LAW AND CITIES IN THE MIDDLE AGES 
8 Judaism: A Law without a State 
9 Christianity: A Conflict of Laws 
10 Islam: Law Rules 

PART V DIVINE LAW IN MEDIEVAL THOUGHT 
11 The Aims of the Law: Islam 
12 The Law as an End: Judaism 
13 The End of the Law: Christianity 

PART VI SANS FOI NI LOI: NEITHER FAITH NOR LAW? 
14 The Modern Age: Destruction of the Idea of Divine Law 
15 Judaism and Islam in the Modern Age 

Conclusion
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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