John Witte discusses "From Sacrament to Contract: The Transformations of the Western Family."
John Witte, Jr., J.D., Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Ethics and Director of the Law and Religion Program at Emory University, is an international specialist in legal history and church-state relations. Author of eight books, he has lectured throughout North America, Europe, Israel, and South Africa. A 1982 alumnus of Calvin College, Dr. Witte graduated first in his class from Harvard Law School and was president of the Harvard Law Review. In his lecture, Dr. Witte poses the questions: "Is marriage ultimately a sacramental bond, a social covenant, a private contract, or a natural association?" and "Does final authority over marriage rest with the church, the state, the couple, or with nature?" According to Dr. Witte, answers to these and other questions have been constructed over the centuries by theologians and jurists as models that shape today's marriage law, for better and for worse.