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Honors and Awards

John Witte elected to AAAS

John Witte has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS)—the third Emory Law scholar to receive this honor. Preceding him were Harold J. Berman in 1997 and Martha Albertson Fineman in 2022. 

Witte is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, McDonald Distinguished Professor of Religion, and faculty director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. A leading specialist in legal history, human rights, religious freedom, marriage and family law, and law and religion, 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 since joining the Emory Law community in 1987. As center director, he has raised $26 million and directed 19 major international research projects on issues of faith, freedom, and the family.  

“It’s a joy to see three of Emory’s exceptional faculty scholars celebrated for their intellectual contributions to society,” says Ravi V. Bellamkonda, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a high honor that speaks to the powerful role academics can play in raising important questions, generating novel ideas and shining a light on challenges that face us all. I congratulate Emory’s newest Academy members on this outstanding recognition by their peers.

Professor Witte's writings have appeared in fifteen languages, and he has delivered more than 350 public lectures throughout the world, including the Franke Lectures at Yale, the Pennington Lectures at Heidelberg, the Jefferson Lectures at Berkeley, the Beatty Lectures at McGill, the McDonald Lectures at Oxford, the Cunningham Lectures at Edinburgh, and the Gifford Lectures at Aberdeen.

He is Series Editor of Emory Studies in Law and Religion (Eerdmans) and Cambridge Studies in Law and Christianity (Cambridge University Press), and he coedits the Journal of Law and Religion, Brill Research Perspectives on Law and Religion, and the new Colección Raíces del Derecho (Aranzadi). He has been selected twelve times by the Emory law students as the Most Outstanding Professor and has won dozens of other awards and prizes for his teaching and research.

Earlier this spring, Brill Publishers released a book of essays in honor of Witte.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. Faith in Law, Law in Faith – Reflecting and Building on the Work of JohnWitte, Jr.| Brillincludes 31 chapters by friends and former students in North America and Europe and opens with a foreword by Emory President Emeritus James T. Laney.

The Academy was founded in 1780 by an illustrious group that included revolutionary war leaders such as John Adams.  The organization “honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world and work together ‘to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.’”

Dean and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law Mary Anne Bobinski noted in an address to Witte’s colleagues, “Election to the AAAS is a high honor that recognizes John’s lifetime accomplishments as a leading scholar of law and religion.”

You can find out more about the AAAS, its distinguished members, and its work at