Foundations of Law – PLST 205
CG • Section • 01/03/2020 to 06/11/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020
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.
In law schools throughout this country, students are taught tertiary law, a constitutional misnomer, to the exclusion of primary and secondary law. Students are taught the law divorced from its historical meaning and Christian foundation. When its rich history is ignored or re-written and the Judeo-Christian tradition of law and justice is abandoned, law becomes a cold instrument of power – a mere utilitarian tool. Manifestations of specific laws are only as good as the hub to which they are connected. A proper worldview is important to the study and practice of law because the manifestations of law (sometimes referred to as “positive” law) are only as grounded as the first principles that form the basis of a person’s worldview.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify the distinctives of a Christian worldview.
- Explain the relevance of the cultural mandate to those involved in the legal profession.
- Identify the obstacles to formation and ratification of the Constitution.
- Describe the significant role religion played in forming the United States of America.
- Describe the Biblical roots of American constitutional government.
- Explain how the modern judiciary undermines the Constitution and our liberties.
- Explain how Congress has used the General Welfare clause to improperly expand its authority.
- Identify the errors in the proposition that there is a “wall of separation” between church and state.
- Identify appropriate responses to the secular attacks on the Constitution.
Textbook readings, articles, and presentations
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.
Discussion Board Forums (3)
Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, there are 3 Discussion Board Forums, and each forum is over a two-week period. One thread of 250–300 words is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday of Modules/Weeks 1, 3, and 5. Two replies of 100–150 words each are due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Modules/Weeks 2, 4, and 6. A minimum of one source must be cited for each post.
Short Essays (3)
There will be 3 short essays of about 400–550 words each, completed in Bluebook format. A minimum of 2 sources must be cited for each essay.
Final Exam Essay
The student will be given 2 hours to complete a cumulative, open-book/open-notes final exam essay with 2 short essay questions.
There will be 3 open-book, open-note quizzes with multiple-choice and true/false questions. Students will be given 1 hour to complete a 25-question quiz by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Modules/Weeks 3, 5, and 7. Quiz 1 will cover the course material from Modules/Weeks 1–3, Quiz 2 will cover the course material from Modules/Weeks 4–5, and Quiz 3 will cover the course material from Modules/Weeks 6–7.