Living Well Together: Insights from a Philosopher, a Theologian and a Legal Scholar

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The Concept of God/God, Peace and International Law, Jurisprudence and Religion, International Legal Philosophy, Christian Natural Law and Religion, Theology and Peace, Secularism and Islam, Monotheism and Jurisprudence, Protestant Theology, Jewish Philosophy, Religion and Society


The writings of a legal scholar (Harold Berman), a philosopher (Charles Taylor) and a theologian (Rabbi Sacks), are used to illuminate the relationship among jurisprudence, religion and peace. These authors negate the assumption that religion is disappearing from the world, or at least from Western civilization. All three contend that religion, understood broadly as a yearning for transcendence, continues to resonate in today’s world. This yearning is deeply relevant to questions of peace. Of course, religion’s influence is not always benign, and these authors assert that since religion has sometimes been used to fuel and justify violence, religious voices must offer alternative, peace-affirming understandings of faith. For some among the faithful, it seems likely that voices speaking from within their religious tradition will carry more weight than secular pleas for peace. Berman, Sacks and Taylor also emphasize that both law and religion speak to how we are to live in community. Moving away from violence will require a re-orientation towards peace in domestic and international law and in the law that is written upon our hearts—that is, in our fundamental understandings of how we are to live and flourish together. Neither Berman, Sacks nor Taylor are naive about the challenges involved in this task of re-orientation, but reading these three authors in concert illuminates the possibility of a positive relationship among jurisprudence, religion and peace.