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

Bild: Antje Kern

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.
Abstract:
This study explores the language of canon law. It seeks to bring the language of canon law into the law and language debate and in doing so better understand how the Roman Catholic Church communicates as a legal institution. It examines the function of canon law language in ecclesiastical communications. It studies the character of canonical language, the grammar and terminology of canon law, and how it makes use of linguistic tricks and techniques to create its typical sound. It discusses the comprehension difficulties that arise out of ambiguities in the law, out of transfer problems between legal and common language, and out of canon law’s confusing mix of legal, doctrinal, and moral norms. It reviews the potential consequences of a plain language agenda in the church. This includes an evaluation of whether dead Latin is the appropriate language for a global and cross-cultural legal order such as canon law, and a discussion of how to improve multi-language communication. The book also takes a closer look at ecclesiastical interpretation theory. It examines forensic language, the language of ecclesiastical tribunals, in its problematic shifting between orality and textuality.

J Hahn, The Sacraments of the Law and the Law of the Sacraments, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Abstract:
“Sacramentality” can serve as a category that helps to understand the performative power of religious and legal rituals. Through the analysis of “sacraments”, one can observe how law uses sacramentality to change reality through performative action, and how religion uses law to organise religious rituals, including sacraments. The study of sacramental action thus shows how law and religion intertwine to produce legal, spiritual, and other social effects. In this volume, the author explores this interplay by interpreting the Catholic sacraments as examples of sacro-legal symbols that draw on the sacramental functioning of the law to provide both spiritual and legal goods to church members. By focusing on sacro-legal symbols from the perspective of sacramental theology, legal studies, ritual theory, symbol theory, and speech act theory, the  study reveals how law and religion work hand in hand to shape our social reality.