Judith Hahn

Canon Law Research and Teaching with a Focus on Constitutional Law, the Theory of Canon Law, the Sociology of Canon Law, Law and Religion, Law and Culture, and Law and Language

New Open Access Publication

J Hahn, Foundations of a Sociology of Canon Law, Cham, Springer Nature, 2022.

Abstract: This book investigates the legal reality of the church through a sociological lens and from the perspective of canon law studies, the discipline which researches the law and the legal structure of the Catholic Church. It introduces readers from various backgrounds to the sociology of canon law, which is both a legal and a theological field of study, and is the first step towards introducing a new subdiscipline of the sociology of canon law. As a theoretical approach to mapping out this field, it asks what theology and canon law may learn from sociology; it discusses the understanding of “law” in religious contexts; studies the preconditions of legal validity and effectiveness; and based on these findings it asks in what sense it is possible to speak of canon “law”. By studying a religious order as its struggles to find a balance between continuity and change, this book also contributes to the debates on religious law in modernity and the challenges it faces from secular states and plural societies.

Download PDF or EPUB version directly from Springer Nature webpage.

New Paperback Edition

J Hahn, Church Law in Modernity: Toward a Theory of Canon Law between Nature and Culture (Cambridge Law and Christianity), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2022.

Abstract: Natural law has long been considered the traditional source of Roman Catholic canon law. However, new scholarship is critical of this approach as it portrays the Catholic Church as static, ahistorical, and insensitive to cultural change. In its attempt to stem the massive loss of effectiveness being experienced by canon law, the church has to reconsider its theory of legal foundation, especially its natural law theory. Church Law in Modernity analyses the criticism levelled at the church and puts forward solutions for reconciling church law with modernity by revealing the historical and cultural authenticity of all law, and revising the processes of law making. In a modern church, there is no way of thinking of the law without the participation of the faithful in legislation. Judith Hahn therefore proposes a reformed legislative process for the church in the hope of reconciling the natural law origins of church law with a new, modern theology.

Books forthcoming in 2023

J Hahn, The Language of Canon Law (Oxford Studies in Language and Law), Oxford, Oxford University Press.
J Hahn, The Sacraments of the Law, the Law of the Sacraments, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.