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What is the Law? Where does it get its authority?

With unparalleled scope and minute detail, Historical
&Theological Foundations of Law
studies the earliest origins of Law
in the legal systems of ancient societies all across the earth,
explores their common threads and differences, traces their development
through history, and notes common trends that should cause hope or alarm
today.

Volume I: Ancient Wisdom. Book
I, The Foundation begins by exploring the laws
of ancient civilizations: Egyptian stability, Babylonian precision,
Persian enlightenment, Indian philosophy, Chinese
Taoism/Buddhism/Confucianism, Polynesian kapu, Incan absolutism and
efficiency, Mayan oligarchy, Aztec judicial independence, Cheyenne
volunteerism, and the Iroquois Confederacy's sage balancing of power.
How did these systems arise? What are the trends? Polytheism to
monotheism, or monotheism to polytheism? Decentralization or
centralization of power? Fewer laws or more laws? Gentleness or
brutality?

Book II, The Cornerstone,
focuses on a unique people who many believe have influenced the world
more than any other. In a canon of 39 books, the Hebrews established the
Tanakh (Old Testament). How did the Hebrew constitution function, and
upon what precepts was it based? Are the Ten Commandments truly the
foundation of Western Law? Why is their influence so often overlooked
today?

Volume II: Classical and Medieval. Book
III, The Structure, turns to Greece and Rome.
Hailed as the birthplace of democracy, the Athenian system was unstable,
inefficient, and short-lived. Nevertheless, Plato laid a philosophical
basis for natural law, and Aristotle provided a foundation for
justice.

Rome had a genius for law and organization, but the
constitutional constraints of the Republic gradually gave way to the
Empire. However, the followers of Christ, once a persecuted minority,
came to rule the Empire and put a Christian stamp on Roman law.


Out of Roman law the rise of the Canon law of the Church occurs. The
Sharia law of Islam is also surveyed.

Book IV, The
Centerpiece
, begins with the Dark Ages―the darkness of the
womb, out of which was born the Common Law. From the Celtic mists, with
the Druids and their Brehon lawyers, St. Patrick and the Senchus Mor,
the Anglo-Saxons in the forests of Germany with their witans and juries
which they brought to Britain, Alfred the Great who began his Book of
Dooms with the Ten Commandments, to the Norman Conquest and the warfare
between the centralizing Norman kings and their opponents, the precepts
and institutions of the Common Law took form.

What is the Common
Law? If it is so common, why is it so seldom defined? How does it relate
to Canon law or civil law? And is it Christian, Roman, or a fusion of
both?

Volume III: Reformation and Colonial. Book
V, The Pinnacle, examines the Lutheran and
Calvinist Reformations, whereby the doctrines of justification by grace
through faith and the priesthood of all believers led to republican
concepts of government by consent of the governed, social contract,
God-given rights, and justified resistance against tyranny.
Constitutional jurists such as Selden, Milton, Coke, Althusius, Grotius,
Locke, Montesquieu, and Blackstone fused Biblical theology with the
Common Law.

To take root and grow, the Common Law needed fresh
soil. In Book VI, The Beacon, the Anglicans
establish the Common Law in Jamestown and the Southern Colonies,
Puritans in the New England Colonies, Presbyterians, Quakers, Catholics,
and others in the Middle Colonies. In 1776 they took the ultimate
republican step of declaring independence. When, in 1787, 55 delegates
gathered in Independence Hall to draft a Constitution, they did not
write on a blank slate. Rather, they were prepared with thousands of
years of "echoes of Eden," Holy Writ, and the Common Law. The event,
Washington said, was "in the hands of God."

This book provides
information and answers, but just as important are the questions it
raises about the nature, purpose, and source of law. Jurists have
articulated it, philosophers have theorized about it, theologians have
explored the moral principles that underlie it. Statesmen have enacted
it, judges have interpreted it, sheriffs have enforced it, soldiers have
defended it, kings have implemented it. And then, after the fact,
people have written about it, to try to explain what it is, and what it
should be.

This is a journey worth taking, for its insight into
mankind's legal heritage. The truths contained in these volumes will
reverberate to future generations who may well need reminding, even as
needed today, of the foundations as well as the Founder of the unique
American system of Law.


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