This course is an introduction to the many schools of jurisprudence. Jurisprudence is the study of legal philosophy. An examination of the nature and meaning of the legal past, particularly the Western legal tradition, with a primary focus on the historical relationship between church and state; and the biblical and theological foundations of the Western legal tradition and the English Common Law heritage. Particular emphasis is given to formulating principles of a distinctively Christian jurisprudence and on reading primary materials.
For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.
Fundamental theological and philosophical presuppositions shape the way human beings understand social institutions, including the law. This includes the view of the nature of the law, the place of positive norms, natural law, and historical ideas in the establishment, and development of legal institutions, principles, and norms. The Christian worldview integrates diverse legal ideas and serves as a foundation for jurisprudence.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Compare and contrast diverse jurisprudential perspectives.
- Analyze the philosophical and theological presuppositions that serve as foundations for the main legal theories.
- Evaluate diverse schools of jurisprudence in light of the Christian worldview and the historical influence of Christian ideas.
- Understand the historical origins and development of legal ideas and institutions.
- Analyze the justice of legal norms consistent with fundamental principles of Divine Law.
Textbook readings and lecture presentations
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to post a thread in response to the provided prompt for each Discussion. Each thread must be 400–500 words, demonstrate course-related knowledge, and be supported by 3 sources in current Bluebook format. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 150–200 words and include 2 sources.
Research Paper Assignments (2)
The student will write two 2,800–3,000-word research-based papers in current Bluebook format that focus on the following topics: natural law and legal positivism, and justice and rights. Each paper must include at least 10 references drawn from at least 5 separate sources. The word count does not include citations.
Note: LL.M students must add an additional 2,500 words of writing in their final paper. This is a Pass/Fail component of this assignment. This is not required of the JM students.
Each quiz will cover the Learn material for the assigned Modules: Weeks. Each quiz will be open book/open-notes. The Introductory Video Quiz will contain 5 multiple choice questions and have a time limit of 25 minutes. The Christian Foundations of Law Quiz will contain 10 multiple choice and/or true/false questions and 7 short answer questions, and have a time limit of 1 hour and 40 minutes. The Positivism, Natural Law, and Modern Legal Theories Quiz and Justice, Rights, Contracts, and Constitutional Law Quiz will contain 10 multiple choice and/or true/false questions and 9 short answer questions, and have a time limit of 1 hour and 40 minutes.