Friday, October 28, 2011

Shulman on Three Books on Originalism and the Religion Clauses

The Siren Song of History: Originalism and the Religion Clauses is a review essay by Jeffrey Shulman, Georgetown University Law Center.  It appears in the Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 27, p. 101, 2011.  There is no abstract on SSRN, but here are the books under review:

1 comment:

Shag from Brookline said...

While SSRN does not provide an abstract, the closing paragraph of this Review Essay hopefully will entice its reading:

"It is hard to foresee much happiness in the lot of those seeking the original meaning of the Religion Clauses. We may acknowledge the opacity of the historical record, the variety of viewpoints held by founders forgotten and non-forgotten, the humanness of the founders who did not always practice what they preached, even the basic indeterminancy of language; still, we are seduced by the siren song of interpretive certainty. But the search for greater clarity is not without its payoff. As the three books under review here illustrate, the more we look for answers in the historical record, the more we are likely to find ambiguity--and with each step we take away from the promised land of historical clarity, we move a step closer to the richer, if less certain, terrain of historical truth."