Foundations of Law – JURI 600

CG • Section 8WK • 12/17/2019 to 05/25/2020 • Modified 07/19/2021

Course Description

An introduction to the theological and philosophical foundations of law, including the Augustinian concept of antithetical thinking; the Creator/creature distinction; the development of higher/natural law thinking; the basis for the distinction between the judicial and prudential methods of analysis; the origins and jurisdictional boundaries of family, church, and state; the schools of jurisprudence; and the biblical basis for the fundamental principles underlying the several courses that comprise the basic curriculum. An introduction to the historical and political background of the Western legal tradition; the impact of canon law and higher law influences on the development of the common law; the development of the respective jurisdictional bases of family, church, and state, and historical struggle between them; and the influence of Christian and secular worldviews on the application of American law, with a particular emphasis on the influences of the Founding Fathers and the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.

Rationale

This course will explore the foundational principles of the Western and American legal traditions, and, in the process, will expose the assumptions that form a person’s worldview. The student will study the rich history of law from ancient revelation through the development of common law, and from the Western legal tradition to the Founding Era up to the present. The course will emphasize the necessity of understanding these founding principles in order to properly understand modern law. Ultimately, the purpose of this course is to discover God’s laws and to encourage obedience to them throughout the nations.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Understand the documents and writings that shaped the Western and American legal traditions.
  2. Understand the Christian worldview and its influence in the development of the Western and American legal traditions.
  3. Analyze legal materials to evaluate underlying worldviews, beliefs, and assumptions.
  4. Understand the Founding Era and its impact on modern law, including the crisis that has developed in the foundations of law.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. The thread must be 300–400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. Each thread must include at least 1 reference to the textbook/course material and must be cited in current Bluebook format. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200–400 words and contain at least 1 reference from the textbook/course material, cited in current Bluebook format.

Essay Assignments (2)

The student will write two 3–5-page research essays in current Bluebook format that focus on specific, provided topics. Each essay must include at least 3 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbook and the Bible. Citations must be in current Bluebook format.

Note: LL.M students must add an additional 2500 words of writing in their final paper. This is a Pass/Fail component of this assignment. This is not required of the JM students.

Quizzes

There are four quizzes. Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for the module in which it is assigned. The quizzes will be open-book/open-notes.