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Doing Justice to Mercy: Religion, Law, and Criminal Justice (Studies in Religion and Culture)


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It is often assumed that the law and religion address differentspheres of human life. Religion and ethics articulate complex systems of moralreasoning that concern norms, deliberation of ends, cultivation of disposition, andtransformation of moral agency. Law, in contrast, seeks to govern human conductthrough procedural justice, rights, and public good. Doing Justice to Mercychallenges this assumption by presenting the reader with an urgent conversationbetween the law and religion that yields a constructive approach, both theoreticallyand practically, to the complex role of mercy in our legalprocess.

Authored by legal practitioners, activists, and theorists in addition to theologians and ethicists, the essayscollected here are informed by timeless principles, and yet they could not betimelier. The trend in sentencing moves toward an increased severity, and the numberof incarcerated people in the United States is at an all-time high. In thehalf-decade since 9/11, moreover, homeland security has established itself as apermanent fixture in our lives. In this atmosphere, the current volume seeksinitially to clarify how justice and mercy intertwine in relation to a number ofissues, such as rehabilitation, the death penalty, domestic violence, and warcrimes. Exploring the legal, philosophical, and theological grounds for mercy in ourcourts, the discussion then moves to the practical ways in which mercy may beimplemented.

Contributors: Marc Mauer, TheSentencing Project * Lois Gehr Livezey, McCormick Theological Seminary * ErnieLewis, Public Advocate, Commonwealth of Kentucky * Jonathan Rothchild, LoyolaMarymount University * Albert W. Alschuler, Northwestern University School of Law *David Scheffer, Northwestern University School of Law * David Little, HarvardDivinity School * Matthew Myer Boulton, Andover Newton Theological School * MarkLewis Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary * Sarah Coakley, Cambridge University *William Schweiker, University of Chicago Divinity School * Kevin Jung, College ofWilliam and Mary * Peter J. Paris, Princeton Theological Seminary * W. Clark Gilpin, University of Chicago Divinity School * William C. Placher, WabashCollege

Book News Annotation:

The schools of divinity and law at the University of Chicago sponsored a three-day conference (no date cited) to explore the relationship of mercy to justice in systems of criminal justice. A glaring context of the discussion was the massive expansion of the US prison system since the 1970s, calling into question the fundamental purpose of the criminal justice system. Some of the 12 papers consider case studies, such as domestic violence, sentencing, and international law. Others look at approaches to the question, among them political theology, phenomenological, and social ethics. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Rothchild, Jonathan
University of Virginia Press
Boulton, Matthew Myer
Jung, Kevin
Religion and law
Religion and justice.
Edition Description:
Studies in Religion and Culture
Publication Date:
8.98x6.33x.71 in. .66 lbs.

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Philosophy General

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