Martin Luther once studied law. So did John Calvin. Deans of law schools and theological seminaries point to interchange of students between the two disciplines. Now for the first time a full-fledged national conference has been held by American Protestants on “Christianity and Law.” Some four years of preparation produced four days of intensive discussion at the University of Chicago, September 7–10. And though Wittenberg and Geneva showed greater strength than many would expect in these environs, the theology of Basel cast the longest shadow across the campus. It did not, however, have entirely its own way, despite the presence of able proponents, including the Basel master’s son Markus Barth, associate professor of New Testament of the University of Chicago’s Federated Theological Faculty.

In fact, one of the most interesting points of the conference was the reaction of lawyers, judges, and law professors and students—meeting with theologians and parish clergy—to dialectical theology.

The conference, sponsored by the United Student Christian Council and the Faculty Christian Fellowship of the National Council of Churches, brought together 120 registered participants from 30 states, along with numerous visitors, and consisted of three “dialogues,” three “sub-conferences,” more than a dozen seminar sessions, worship services led by conference chaplain Professor A. T. Mollegen of the Episcopal Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia, and daily Bible study conducted by Professor Barth.

Already aware of the “increasing evidence of an earnest concern among Christians in the legal profession about the issues of Christianity and law,” the conferees were accorded a sharpened awareness by means of three resource papers sent out ...

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