A multi-disciplinary approach to the exploration of the relationship between various forms of religious law and the demands of secular/civil English Law. The text focuses upon people 'of faith' and the tensions and accommodation they experience as they try to meet the increasingly conflictual demands of religious law and secular law. The text seeks to be a work of both theory and praxis. As such the text will apply the theoretical concept of the sacred paradox of law to specific examples drawn from various areas of English law. (For example: Employment law, Trust Law, Criminal Law, European Law, Human Rights Law and Discrimination law). In the areas of law under consideration the text will single out new legislation. Legislation that is clearly aimed at issues of religion (e.g the new regulations against Religious discrimination within employment law) and general legislation that causes major difficulties to some people of a certain level of traditionalism with differing types of religious faith (notably the Gender re-assignment Bill 2004).
It draws upon aspects of socio-legal studies, law, critical legal studies, philosophy (French, German, Arabic) sociology of religion (secularisation), social history (secularisation), sociology of language, Religious studies (secularisation, the study of New Religious Movements and the new age), Christian theology, Jewish studies, Islamic Studies, discourse analysis, hermeneutics, law, critical theory, and critical legal studies.
Dr Sharon Hanson is part of the Faculty of Continuing Education, Birkbeck College, University of London.
Introduction : The challenges of living under the law of the secular and the law of the divine in contemporary England; Sacred stories in the texts of law; Players in the public square; Models of relationship between state and religion; Religion, identity and law; Conclusion: How can we live together under two laws?