'Law and Religion: current legal issues volume 4' edited by Richard O'Dair and Andrew Lewis. Oxford University Press 2001 (0-19-924660-2) pp. xliii + 561. Hb UK Pounds 70.
Essentially this is a collection of papers read at the fourth interdisciplinary conference at the University College London's Faculty of Law on 3-4 July 2000. It is part of the 'Current Legal Issues Colloquium' series published by Oxford University Press.
'Law and religion' as an established field of study has its own specialist journals and conferences. This collection of essays has 31 contributors from all over the world, common and civil law countries alike, with a predominance of British and United States jurists. It covers Christian, Jewish, Islam and Ba'hai beliefs, as well as secular perspectives.
The essays cover various difficult subjects, ranging from the interaction of law and religion in modern societies to the limitations of religion in a postmodern world. Hermeneutics of all scripture traditions are considered as well as human rights especially in the area of freedom of religion.
The legal status of the Church of England is considered in depth as to whether it is a religious denomination or public religion. Case law in the Salmon Rushdie matter is relevant - being accused of blasphemy by many parts of the Islam world, a fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini, it was held that such a charge only be related to the 'CofE'
By its very nature this book is demanding reading. Of particular interest to scholars of public law and public theology alike, it is an academic feast with its own elan