RUSSLR Lecture: Law and Love in the Garden of Eden

When: Tuesday, 29 April, 2014 at 1.30pm
Where: Moot Court Room, Ligertwood Building, Law School

Speaker: Joshua Neoh is currently a Lecturer in Law at the Australian National University (ANU); he was previously an Associate Lecturer at the Adelaide Law School. His research reflects on questions of legal theory in and though biblical narratives. He is on the Management Board of the University of Adelaide’s Research Unit for the Study of Society, Law and Religion (RUSSLR). He received his LLB from the ANU, and his LLM from Yale Law School.

Synopsis: What founds a community – law or love? There have been at least two metanarratives that attempt to answer the question of what binds a political community: one is the metanarrative of law and the other is the metanarrative of love. Theorists who subscribe to the metanarrative of law typically present a Hobbesian view of the world. In the Hobbesian picture, law is needed to regulate and mediate our relationships because of the egoistic nature of humankind. Without law, life would be unliveable. Law founds a political community, invests it with normative authority, and creates its trans-temporality. On the other hand, theorists who subscribe to the metanarrative of love typically present an Edenic view of the world. In the Edenic picture, before the law – before the Fall – there was love. That which ultimately sustains a political community and connects an individual to that community is love, not law. In contemporary legal and political discourse, the Hobbesian narrative has been the dominant paradigm with which we view our legal and political world. This lecture will explore the dormant paradigm of the Edenic narrative, which remains part of our intellectual tradition and provides an alternative vision to the Hobbesian one. This presentation will track the existence of love and the emergence of law in the Garden of Eden.

For further information, contact Paul Babie,

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