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  • Cited by 4
  • Joshua Neoh, Australian National University, Canberra
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2019
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

How does one lead a life of law, love, and freedom? This inquiry has very deep roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Indeed, the divergent answers to this inquiry mark the transition from Judeo to Christian. This book returns to those roots to trace the twists and turns that these ideas have taken as they move from the sacred to the secular. It relates our most important mode of social organization, law, to two of our most cherished values, love and freedom. In this book, Joshua Neoh sketches the moral vision that underlies our modern legal order and traces our secular legal ideas (constitutionalism versus anarchism) to their theological origins (monasticism versus antinomianism). Law, Love, and Freedom brings together a diverse cast of characters, including Paul and Luther, Augustine and Aquinas, monks and Gnostics, and constitutionalists and anarchists. This book is valuable to any lawyers, philosophers, theologians and historians, who are interested in law as a humanistic discipline.


'Neoh’s work is characterised by the successful weaving of different sources or even genres. It is comfortable with analytical jurisprudence and biblical commentary; it moves between conceptual analysis and narrative. For some, this will no doubt appear to be strange – what do Athens and Jerusalem have to say to one another? But the connections are fertile and revealing … Neoh has provided us with a rich, stimulating, provocative, and insightful book to guide us through questions both ancient and contemporary.'Joel Harrison, Jurisprudence

‘The political and legal implications of Taylor’s (admittedly sometimes elusive) account of modernity are still being spelled out, and Neoh’s book is a welcome effort in that regard. Notwithstanding the reservations voiced along the way above, academic books often aim too narrowly and so it is a welcome change to review a book that aims so broadly.’Michael P. Moreland, The American Journal of Jurisprudence

‘This is bold and vigorous work, which in broad strokes seeks to capture the central elements of European legal culture. It surveys a remarkably broad sweep of literature and in doing so captures well the ambivalence we feel about law.’Julian Rivers, Cambridge Law Journal

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