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Emory Law News Center

Faculty and Scholarship

Philanthropist pledges support of law and spirituality scholar's research

Emory University |
Rafael Domingo
Spruill Family Professor of Law and Religion

Spanish businessman and philanthropist Gonzalo Rodriguez-Fraile has pledged a substantial gift that will support the work of Emory’s Spruill Family Professor of Law and Religion Rafael Domingo.

A native of Spain, Domingo moved to the United States in 2011 and joined Emory Law’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) in 2012 after a one-year fellowship at New York University School of Law. His specialties are comparative law, European legal history, legal theory, canon law, and ancient Roman law. He is former dean of the University of Navarra’s law school, where Rodriguez-Fraile earned his law degree, in addition to an MBA from Harvard Business School.

The gift is a continuation of Rodriguez-Fraile’s long-running support of Domingo’s scholarship on fundamental questions of law, religion and spiritualization. 

“Since I met Rafael Domingo in Miami in 2013, I saw in him an innovative and creative mind capable of generating fresh, deep, even revolutionary ideas in a field that I consider central in our day: the relationship between spirituality and society,” Rodriguez-Fraile said. “It is an honor for me to support the Center for the Study for Law and Religion, led by a scholar of the intellectual stature of John Witte Jr.,” he added. In addition to serving as director of the Center, Witte is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, and McDonald Distinguished Professor.

Rodriguez-Fraile leads two foundations that explore spirituality: Spain’s Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Consciencia and the Florida-based Consciousness Development Foundation.

Domingo is also Francisco de Vitoria Senior Fellow and co-director of CSLR’s Law and Christianity research program, one of seven research focus areas within the Center. He has published 25 books and more than 100 articles, and his work has been translated into 10 languages. He has delivered dozens of public lectures throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and Japan. He has published four recent books with Cambridge University Press, including The New Global Law (2010), God and the Legal System (2016), Great Christian Jurists in Spanish History (2016) and Great Christian Jurists in French History (2019). Routledge has published his monograph on Roman Law: An Introduction (2018) and has under contract three additional titles on Christianity and Global Law; Great Christian Jurists in Italian History; and Great Christian Jurists in Latin American History. In addition to his scholarly writing, Domingo has published more than 200 op-eds in Spanish and Latin American newspapers and regularly appears on CNN as a source for stories involving religion and the Catholic Church.

Domingo was vice dean of the University of Navarra School of Law for a year before serving as dean from 1996 to 1999. He was the first holder of the Garrigues Chair in Global Law, and founding director of the Anglo-American Law Program, the International Business Law Program, and the Global Law Program.

"I am deeply grateful to Gonzalo Rodriguez-Fraile for his generous support of my research since I joined the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory,” Domingo said. “Gonzalo is a visionary of unlimited generosity and extraordinary courage to face great challenges. He is the perfect ally.”

“Rafael Domingo is a unique and invaluable collaborator in the work of our Law and Religion Center, through his deep civil law training, insider knowledge of global Catholicism, and intellectual alliances with the Spanish world of law and religion,” Witte said. “And Gonzalo Rodriguez-Fraile is a visionary philanthropist with a commanding and compelling view of the spiritual foundations of law, politics and society.”