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Fall 2022 Carolinas Regional Convivium at Davenant House
October 14, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - October 15, 2022 @ 4:30 pm
“Law and Wisdom”
“Of Law there can be no less acknowledged, than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world: all things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power, both Angels and men and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.”
Thus declares Richard Hooker in his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, seamlessly blending his account of the eternal law with the image of Lady Wisdom from Proverbs 8. He was hardly the first to identify the rational, law-like order by which God governs the universe with the with the biblical image of the divine wisdom through which the heavens and earth were created. And of course, the connection of law and wisdom hardly stops there. In both Psalm 19 and Psalm 119, it is the law of God that brings wisdom, and the five books of Wisdom in the Hebrew Scriptures serve as something of a commentary on the five books of Law, showing what it means to live out God’s law in a perplexing and ever-changing world. Indeed, as David Daube has argued (Law and Wisdom in the Bible), the category of “law” itself functions less like our own understanding of positive law and more like wisdom teaching.
Today, legal positivism and conservative textualism have eroded the connection between law and wisdom, but it has not been broken entirely, especially in the Anglo-American common-law tradition. Judges are routinely called upon to exercise wisdom, in its many dimensions, to determine the proper meaning and application of statutes and case laws in often radically-altered social environments. Moreover, it is a crucial task of wisdom to recognize the limitations of law, and the danger of reforming law too quickly, even to address glaring injustices. Law is a fabric of limited elasticity, and if stretched too far too fast, is apt to tear.
At the Fall 2022 Carolinas Regional Convivium, our second on the broad theme of “theology and law” we invite you to join us in investigating the relationship between law and wisdom, ancient and modern.
See more details and register at https://davenantinstitute.org/sc2022