Biography

John Witte Jr.


Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law, Alonzo L. McDonald Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion

Curriculum Vitae

 

 

Areas of Expertise
Legal History, Religious Liberty, Marriage and Family Law, Human Rights

Biography

John Witte, Jr. is Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law, Alonzo L. McDonald Distinguished Professor, and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion Center at Emory University.  A specialist in legal history, marriage law, and religious liberty, he has published 200 articles, 15 journal symposia, and 27 books.

Recent book titles include: Sex, Marriage and Family Life in John Calvin’s Geneva, 2 vols. (2005, 2014); Modern Christian Teachings on Law, Politics, and Human Nature, 3 vols. (2006); God’s Joust, God’s Justice: Law and Religion in the Western Tradition (2006); The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism (2007); Christianity and Law: An Introduction (2008); Sins of the Fathers: The Law and Theology of Illegitimacy Reconsidered (2009); Christianity and Human Rights: An Introduction (2010); Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment (3d ed. 2011); No Establishment of Religion: America’s Original Contribution to Religious Liberty (2012); From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition (2d ed., 2012). 

Professor Witte’s writings have appeared in fifteen languages, and he has delivered more than 350 major public lectures throughout North America, Europe, Japan, Israel, Hong Kong, Australia, and South Africa. With major funding from the Pew, Ford, Lilly, Luce, and McDonald foundations, he has directed 12 major international research projects on democracy, human rights, and religious liberty, and on marriage, family, and children. He edits two major book series, “Studies in Law and Religion,” and “Religion, Marriage and Family” and coedits The Journal of Law and Religion. He has been selected twelve times by the Emory law students as the Most Outstanding Professor and has won scores of other awards and prizes for his teaching and research.  

Professor Witte is married to Eliza Ellison, a theologian and mediator. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Education: BA, Calvin College, 1982; JD, Harvard University, 1985.

Publications
 
An Apt and Cheerful Conversation on Marriage
THE FAMILY TRANSFORMED: RELIGION, VALUES AND THE FAMILY IN MODERN AMERICA 2006

 
Marriage Contracts, Liturgies, and Properties in Reformation Geneva
MARRYING IN THE MIDDLE AGES: EVIDENCES OF MARRIAGE IN WESTERN CHRISTENDOM, 500-1600 2006

 
Honor Thy Father (and Thy Mother): Child Marriage and Parental Consent in Calvin's Geneva
Journal of Religion 2005

 
Introduction
54 Emory L.J. 1 2005

 
One Public Religion, Many Private Religions: John Adams and the 1780 Massachusetts Constitution
THE FOUNDERS ON GOD AND GOVERNMENT 2004

 
Between Sanctity and Depravity: Human Dignity in Protestant Perspective
IN DEFENSE OF HUMAN DIGNITY: ESSAYS FOR OUR TIMES 2004

 
Covenant Liberty in Puritan New England
JURISPRUDENCE, POLITICAL THEORY AND POLITICAL THEOLOGY 2004

 
Moderate Religious Liberty: John Calvin and the Geneva Experiment
THE REFORMATION OF RIGHTS: LAW, RELIGION, AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE CALVINIST TRADITION 2004

 
From Establishment to Freedom of Public Religion
Capital University Law Review 2004

 
Law and Legal Theory in the Western Tradition
The Encyclopedia of Christianity, vol. 3 2004

 
That Serpentine Wall of Separation
101 Michigan Law Review 2003

 
Between Sanctity and Depravity: Law and Human Nature in Martin Luther's Two Kingdoms
Villanova Law Review, Vol. 48 2003

 
Ishmael's Bane: The Sin and Crime of Illegitimacy Reconsidered
Punishment and Society: The International Journal of Penology, Vol. 5, No. 3 2003

 
From Establishment to Freedom of Public Religion
32 Cap. U. L. Rev. 499 2003

 
Between Sanctity and Depravity: Law and Human Nature in Martin Luther's Two Kingdoms
48 Vill. L. Rev. 727 2003

 
Dickensian Era of Religious Rights: An Update on Religious Human Rights in Global Perspective, A
42 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 707 2000

 
Primer on the Rights and Wrongs of Proselytism, A
31 Cumb. L. Rev. 619 2000

 
Goods and Goals of Marriage, The
76 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1019 2000

 
In the Steps of Gratian: Writing the History of Canon Law in the 1990's
48 Emory L. J. 647 1999

 
Most Mild and Equitable Establishment of Religion: John Adams and the Massachusetts Experiment, A
41 J. Church & St. 213 1999

 
Soul Wars: The Problem and Promise of Proselytism in Russia
12 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 1 1998

 
Law, Religion, and Human Rights
28 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 1 1996

 
Introductory Remarks
10 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 53 1996

 
Essential Rights and Liberties of Religion in the American Constitutional Experiment
71 Notre Dame L. Rev. 371 1995

 
Civic Seminary: Sources of Modern Public Education in the Lutheran Reformation of Germany, The
12 J. L. & Religion 173 1995

 
Future of Religious Liberty in Russia: Report of the De Burght Conference on Pending Russian Legislation Restricting Religious Liberty, The
8 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 1 1994

 
Development of Herman Dooyeweerd's Concept of Rights, The
110 S. African L.J. 543 1993

 
New Concordance of Discordant Canons: Harold J. Berman on Law and Religion, A
42 Emory L. J. 523 1993

 
Three Uses of the Law: A Protestant Source of the Purposes of Criminal Punishment, The
10 J. L. & Religion 433 1993

 
Christianity and Democracy: Past Contributions and Future Challanges
6 Emory Int'L Rev. 55 1992

 
Theology and Politics of the First Amendment Religion Clauses: A Bicentennial Essay, The
40 Emory L. J. 489 1991

 
Tax Exemption of Church Property: Historical Anomaly or Valid Constitutional Practice
64 S. Cal. L. Rev. 363 1990

 
How to Govern a City on a Hill: The Early Puritan Contribution to American Constitutionalism
39 Emory L. J. 41 1990

 
Transformation of Western Legal Philosophy in Lutheran Germany, The
62 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1573 1988

 
Blest be the Ties That Bind: Covenant and Community in Puritan Thought
36 Emory L. J. 579 1987

 
Reformation of Marriage Law in Martin Luther's Germany: Its Significance Then and Now, The
4 J. L. & Religion 293 1986

 
Rights in the Western Tradition
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHRISTIANITY, Vol. 4

 
Religious Rights in the Founding Era
Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 03-22

 
The Perils of Celibacy: Clerical Celibacy and Marriage in Early Protestant Perspective
THE CHURCH IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

 
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