Later this month one of Australia’s pre-eminent legal academics, Dr Augusto Zimmermann, will launch his latest work, ‘Christian Foundations of the Common Law – Volume 1: England’. Two other volumes will follow, focusing on America and Australia.
I asked Dr Zimmermann for a brief background on his important work. He explains what led to this book below.
My research has revealed that only a few books specifically discuss in detail the Christian roots of our legal system. Books on the history of the common law usually contain a brief discussion of the topic or devote a chapter at best. And, regrettably, the same applies to books on Christian jurisprudence.
This is surprising given the potential reach of the topic to richly inform discussions on legal rights, common-law principles and its paramountcy in legal history – particularly in the law of equity. This topic should – and must – inform discussions on human rights, the creation and interpretation of legal rules and principles and, far from last, the footprints of Western legal history.
Of course, as we well know for quite a long time the Christian foundations of our legal systems have been neglected, no longer common knowledge to the general public and the political and legal elites. So I believe there is a considerable need for a more comprehensive academic work that discusses the philosophical origins of the common law. In other words, there is a huge need for a book that properly discusses the Christian roots of our legal systems.
To achieve this goal, I have finished writing a three-volume collection entitled ‘Christian Foundations of the Common Law’. Published by Australia’s Connor Court, this unique contribution addresses the legal system of three different countries – England, the United States, and Australia. This book is therefore divided into three volumes, each of these volumes addressing the Christian foundations of a particular legal system – England (Volume 1), the United States (Volume 2), and Australia (Volume 3).
This is certainly a comprehensive work and there is nothing like that available in the current market.
Of course, this collection is not intended to invite people to embrace the Christian faith, but simply to re-assert the fundamental importance of Christian philosophy to the development of the legal system known as the common law. It utterly rejects the notion so congenial today that the basic principles of our legal system happened in spite of, rather than because of, Christianity. On the contrary, it is argued that legal concepts that are central to the common law have undeniable Christian roots.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the read!