From Sacrament to Contract, Second Edition: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition

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It illuminates our collective heritage of religion, law, and marital structure. It should be obligatory reading for students, theorists, and politicians who would improve the present situation of marriage and family, and for those who would make their marriages productive in both society and church. Lawler, Theological Studies, Vol. He focuses on the theological and ethical models of marriage in the Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, and Enlightenment contexts.

Informed by a wealth of primary sources —many of which Witte has highlighted for the first time —the author shows how these models have directly affected domestic law and organization. There is simply no other treatise that conveys the history and cultural impact of Christian social thought in such a thorough and penetrating fashion. In arguing for the dominance of these models in certain places and within certain traditions, Witte never tries to claim too much.

Constructing models is a dangerous business, and leaves the author vulnerable to accusations of oversimplifying and ignoring inconvenient evidence. Witte is guilty of neither of these. For those who like their histories of marriage populated with actual wives and husbands, this will not be a satisfying book. Although Witte does include an occasional case study, his book is really about ideas. Those who believe that ideas do matter will find the book stimulating and helpful. With so many specialist studies of marriage in particular places and times now available, it is especially valuable to have such a book to guide us towards a coherent vision of this aspect of our past.

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It is clearly the result of years of meticulous and original scholarship combined with careful and clear writing. It is a book that should be found in the libraries of all practicing clergy.

It will help them in innumerable ways to convey the nature of the institution they are so frequently called upon to witness and bless and it will help them grasp the deep reasons for what is not so frequently called a crisis in the institution of marriage…Witte has written a superb book—one that makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the most basic of all social institutions. He has done family scholars the enormous favor of organizing these archival sources into a highly readable and coherent narrative.

Pabel, Studia Canonica, Vol. It is simply the clearest, most engaging explanation of the subject I have ever read.

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Book: From Sacrament to Contract - John Witte, Jr.

Norman, Sewanee Theological Review, pp Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem?

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Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In so doing, Witte shows how we arrived at the notion of marriage as contract.


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The Family, Culture, and Religion series offers informed and responsible analyses of the state of the American family from a religious perspective and provides practical assistance for the family's revitalization. Get A Copy. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 3. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about From Sacrament to Contract , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about From Sacrament to Contract.

Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Mar 06, Sharon rated it it was amazing Shelves: marriage-prep. Incredibly easy and interesting to read, especially considering the scope and complexity of the topic. Nov 26, Daniel rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , theology , family , catholic. Dec 20, Adam Calvert rated it really liked it Shelves: history , reference-works.

However, the author does a great job of sorting these views out both categorically and historically.

From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition

This makes it a very helpful read. Apr 07, Chris rated it really liked it Shelves: dissertation , history , theology , marriage. An extremely clear narrative of theological and legal accounts of marriage in Europe, with a focus on the changes wrought by the different strands of the Protestant Reformation. A second edition which I have not yet looked at apparently has stronger Biblical and patristic material as well.


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