Preaching in the Court House: An Experiment in Blog Advertising
At last January’s AALS meetings, Larry Solum gave advice to new scholars on the use of SSRN, suggesting that it was a good idea to post short, initial versions of an article as a way of generating interest and invitations to workshop one’s piece at other schools. Perhaps blogs can be used in the same way. Hence this post.
I now have a completed draft of a paper that I am interested in workshopping at any school that might be interested in having an outside presenter during the summer. Here is an abstract:
Preaching in the Court House and Judging in the Temple
A number of American religious denominations – Quakers, Baptists, Mormons, and others – tried with varying degrees of success to opt out of the secular legal system, resolving civil litigation between church members in church courts. Scholars of alternative dispute resolution have studied these ecclesiastical judiciaries as a chapter in the perpetual quest for low-cost alternatives to the expense and technicality of the common-law courts. Using the rise and decline of civil litigation in Mormon ecclesiastical courts during the nineteenth century as a case study, this paper argues that the move to bring civil litigation within the fold of the church must be understood against a much richer background of theological development and civic symbolism. Ultimately the Mormon courts emerged as a result of theological ideas with roots in the early sixteenth century and as a religious critique of the legal profession and the symbolic status of litigation in civic life. Likewise, their decline resulted from a combination of rising economic and legal complexity and the symbolic renegotiation of law’s meaning within the Mormon community.
If this sounds interesting to you, contact me at nboman-at-wm.edu.