Student's Guide to the Study of Law

Student's Guide to the Study of Law

ISI Student Guides to the Major Disciplines

by Gerard V. Bradley
1st Edition, ©2006, ISBN: 9781882926978
Trade Paperback, 134 pages
List Price: $8.00 Sale Price: $6.00

One of the best introductions to any discipline you'll ever read, A Student's Guide to the Study of Law does what few beginning-level essays do: it establishes a point of view and defends it. While other writers are busy trying to "objectively" explore a topic or field of study, Gerard Bradley of Notre Dame University is evenhanded while defending his own position, objective in his analysis of competing views while remaining faithful to his own.

The study of law, he asserts, is not the study of laws. Law as a theory is far more universal than the individual laws a society constructs for its citizenry: it is rooted not in expedience but in truth, not in majority opinion but in right and wrong. In order to be coherent, therefore, law theory must be based on morality, more particularly the morality of religion (in Bradley's case, the Christian religion).

Statements like these are sure to engender dissent, but Bradley has preempted argument to the contrary, and goes head-to-head with relativism and its corollaries, dismantling what he sees as uncompelling stances and encouraging readers to look at things with a sense of moral judgement. Students interested in law, as well as anyone who wants to understand the topic more fully, will encounter theterminology, ideas, and important figures necessary to pursue the discipline seriously.

Like many authors in the ISI Student Guides to Major Disciplines series, Bradley deplores the current state of the academic approaches to the study of law. Instead of studying law as a concept in its own right, universities insist on a merely practical methodology; instead of moral foundationalism as a prerequisite for meaningful dialogue about laws, they trade in the language of postmodernism and relativism. This little book is an excellent starting place for the needed foundationalist corrective on which all great societies depend.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Summary Introduces the study of law by eschewing the study of specific laws in favor of studying the theory of laws.

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