Comparative religious legislation

lsrel2240  2022-2023  Louvain-la-Neuve

Comparative religious legislation
4.00 credits
30.0 h
The course LDROI1511 « Introduction au droit islamique » and one of the courses of canon law LTHEO1210 ou LTHEO2272 are recommanded as prerequisites.
Main themes
The concept of "(religious) law" and the methodology of comparative law applied to religions: Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam.
Comparative Law as a tool for Religious Studies across selected themes: Sacred Punishment, Clergy, Public / Private, Personal Status, Women, Marriage, Justice, Governance, Apostasy, Death, State, Ecumenism, etc.
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 measure the stakes of a comparison of religious Laws as a vehicle for understanding the diversity of religious traditions and as a contribution to interreligious dialogue.
The course consists of two parts. The first presents and analyzes the relevance of the concept of 'law' within the great religious traditions, and provides an operational method for a comparative approach relevant from a normative point of view. The focus is aimed at the religious understanding about some kinds of "pressure by threat of sanctions" that will allow a heuristic critic locating in each tradition its own normative discourse.
The course will then be devoted to a comparative work on various institutions (to be chosen by the students : ex. Sacred Punishment, Clergy, Public / Private, People, Women, Marriage, Justice, Governance, Apostasy, Death, State Ecumenism). One or two guests will be invited to contribute to a comparative work within their own tradition.
At the end of the course, the student will master the main research tools in comparative religious law and will be able to conduct a documentary research in these matters.
Teaching methods
After a general introduction, the course will progress through interactive discussions around a portfolio of readings and research chosen and prepared by each student.
Evaluation methods
The evaluation will be made on the basis of a paper by about fifteen pages in which each student has to analyse an institution approached in a comparative way between two religious normative fields. The evaluation takes into account the quality of documentary and bibliographical methods (20% of points).
The same terms and conditions apply for the September session.
Online resources
See the moodle website of the course.
  • Collectif, Les principes des droits des religions, Revue de droit canonique, Strasbourg, tome 57/2, , 2009, 240 pp.
  • BERKMANN, The Internal Law of Religions. Introduction to a comparative discipline, Routledge, 2020, 196 pp.
  • DOE, N., Comparative Religious Law: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 468 pp.
  • FERRARI S. (dir.) Introduzione al diritto comparato delle religioni. Ebraismo, islam e induismo, Bologna, Il Mulino, Collana Itinerari, 2008, 232 pp.
  • FERRARI, S., Lo spirito dei diritti religiosi. Ebraismo, cristianesimo e islamo a confronto, Bologne, Mulino, 2002, 300 pp.
  • HUXLEY, A. Religion, Law And Tradition (Comparative Studies In Religious Law), Routledge/Curzon, 2002, 240 pp.
  • NEUSNER, J., SONN, T., Comparing religions through Law, Judaism and Islam, Londres, Routledge, 1999, 264 pp.
Dans les revues, la revue italienne Daimon est spécifiquement consacrée au droit comparé des religions, sous forme d'annuaire thématique. De même, plusieurs numéros thématiques de la Revue de droit canonique sont dédiés à des approches comparatives (La liberté de conscience dans le champ de la religion, t. 52/1 ; Le secret dans les religions, t. 52/2 ; etc.).
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Master [120] in Sciences of Religions