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Emory Law News Center

Faculty and Scholarship

Witte honored with Festschrift on law and religion

A. Kenyatta Greer |
Professor John Witte
Professor John Witte

Brill Publishers has released a book of essays in honor of John Witte, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, McDonald Distinguished Professor of Religion, and faculty director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. The collection is edited by Rafael Domingo, Gary S. Hauk, and Timothy P. Jackson, former colleagues and enduring friends of Witte. The book is free and open access. 

The title includes 31 chapters by friends and former students in North America and Europe and opens with a foreword by Emory President Emeritus James T. Laney, who hired Witte in 1987 to lead the work in law and religion at Emory. Laney wrote:  

Of all the things I am proud of as president emeritus of Emory, none stands higher than the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. In many respects, all of the center’s achievements reflect the vision and drive of John Witte—not just his executive leadership as director of the center, but his own seminal studies. His laser-like mind, sweeping historical and legal perspective, galvanizing vision, and soaring standards for scholarship, teaching, and collegiality are matched only by his extraordinary appetite for work. He is a prolific writer, from whose keyboard has poured forth a steady torrent of monographs, edited volumes, journal articles, reviews, book chapters, lectures, and op-eds. 

Since joining the Emory Law community in 1987, WItte has published 45 books in 15 languages plus 325 articles and 18 journal symposia; he has also delivered 425 public lectures around the world. As center director, he has raised $26 million and directed 19 major international research projects on issues of faith, freedom, and the family. 

Witte, in response to this book’s release, said, “I find it hard to believe that I have already reached the age to receive a lovely tribute volume like this. I am taking it as a strong pat on the back from on high, and encouragement to keep running the race for a time, while body, mind, and soul remain intact. May it long continue.” He added that the collection provides “a wonderful kaleidoscopic tour of the fundamentals and frontiers of law and religion study.” 

Michael J. Broyde, professor of law and senior fellow, Center for the Study of Law and Religion, said of his longtime colleague: “I have been working with Professor Witte for more than 30 years and there are few honors that he does not deserve.  Besides his excellent scholarship, he is a leading thinker and a wonderful administrator, as well as a widely honored teacher.  This is not the last honor he is to receive, and each is deserved more than the last one.”  

The editors 

Rafael Domingo is Alvaro d’Ors Professor of Law at the University of Navarra, a senior fellow for the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory and has published 30 books and 150 articles. 

Gary Hauk 91PhD has served as secretary of the university, vice president, and chief of staff to four Emory presidents, and as university historian. He retired in 2020.  

Timothy P. Jackson isBishop Mack B. and Rose Stokes Professor Emeritus of Theological Ethics and senior fellow at Emory’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, a senior fellow at the Center for Ethics. 

These scholars wrote of Witte in the book’s acknowledgements: 

For several decades, the work of John Witte Jr. as scholar, teacher, public lecturer, and project leader, has been among the most influential in the English-speaking world in the field of law and religion in general, and in the study of law and Christianity in particular. 

We editors are grateful for the erudition and cooperation of the thirty-three contributors to this volume—a few of them Witte’s former students, and almost all of them collaborators in scholarly projects and publications that Witte has led since the mid-1980s. 

For many years, he has seasoned his steadfast encouragement of our own scholarship with incisive suggestions, gentle grace, modesty, and humor. The field of law and religion in general would be poorer without John’s contributions, and so would our own scholarly life. It is therefore a deep joy to have collaborated in publishing this tribute to John and his enduring legacy. 

Download Faith in Law, Law in Faith – Reflecting and Building on the Work of JohnWitte, Jr.| Brill .