Secular States and Monotheistic Religions

Giovanni Sale, SJ

 Giovanni Sale, SJ / Issue 1910 / 1 October 2019

According to Max Weber the formation of modern legal systems must be read in parallel with the process of secularization of the modern state and of civil and political society, which has separated the religious sphere from the secular, formulating new ethical and political principles to regulate the organization of the state and the coexistence of people, thus erasing from state law the original sacred elements inherited from ancient traditions.[1]

This approach to the subject of the foundation of modern legal systems is strongly marked by a Eurocentric perspective and cannot be used to interpret situations existing in other parts of the world where religious traditions other than Christianity prevail. In this regard it is legitimate to ask with philosopher Silvio Ferrari, “whether it is correct to proceed with the classification of the different legal systems starting from the degree of separation of law from religion, politics, tradition, and whether this approach constitutes another projection of Eurocentric models onto realities that could be better analyzed starting from other interpretative keys.”[2]

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