“In his latest tome, ‘Christian Foundations of the Common Law’, Dr Augusto Zimmermann rediscovers the Christian roots of the English, American and Australian legal systems. With scholarly acuity, this work skilfully uncovers how great thinkers in Western Civilisation understood the cultural importance of these self-evident truths to society and good governance under the rule of law. At a time when perhaps we need it most, Zimmermann shows how Christian ideas like ‘natural law’, ‘natural rights’ and ‘natural justice’, contributed to the development of the common law. In doing so, Dr Zimmermann’s work convincingly confirms for us that ideas informed by the Bible influenced in important ways the development of the Common Law, and indeed, the preservation of freedom and justice. Woven through the very readable chapters of this book is a profound understanding of an ancient sacred premise: God revealed moral absolutes in His Word, and placed these truths on the human heart”.
–William Wagner, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Law, Western Michigan University, U.S.A., Former U.S. Federal Judge & U.S. Diplomat, President, Salt & Light Global
“Professor Zimmermann’s book is striking in its depth and breadth. Not since Harold Berman’s volumes on Law and Revolution has such a mammoth task been undertaken. Berman’s positive influence is clear in the way Zimmermann systematically and incontrovertibly demonstrates the Christian roots of the common law in Australia, England and the US. Yet Zimmermann goes further than Berman in at least two respects. First, he delves deeply into three particular jurisdictions and focuses on influential political figures in an enlightening way. Second, Zimmermann skilfully takes into account recent developments in Western politics and culture and a broad range of contemporary scholarship in theology, legal theory and history, philosophy and constitutional law. This book is therefore informative for scholars and laity alike, and essential reading for a legal community which seems content to drift ever further from its Christian origins. I highly recommend it.”
— Dr Alex Deagon FHEA, Senior Lecturer in Law, Queensland University of Technology, Author of ‘From Violence to Peace: Theology, Law and Community’
“Professor Augusto Zimmermann has produced an extremely helpful book in which he carefully demonstrates the indissociable Christian origins of the common law. This is a most timely publication, particularly in the context of contemporary discourse that attempts to relativise religious influence. Professor Zimmermann traces how many of our current freedoms within a broad, plural, public square can be attributed to a rich seam of Christian philosophical influence that has evidently infused the development of the common law in different jurisdictions. In my view, this is essential reading for students and scholars alike who seek a fuller appreciation as to the origins of the common law.”
— Simon McCrossan LL.M, Barrister, UK, Head of Public Policy, Evangelical Alliance UK
“If we forget our history we are destined to repeat mistakes of the past. If we are not truthful about our history we cannot understand our present. It is popular today to attempt to whitewash the positive influence of religion not only from the present but also from the past. The idea that law is morally neutral and that religion generally and Christianity, in particular, is a force of evil and not good has become popular in Australia’s mainstream press and embraced by politicians and academics. In this excellent book, Dr Zimmermann carefully lays out for the reader an easily digestible and highly readable account of the Christian roots of the common law in England, the United States and Australia. His book is a very valuable addition to Australian works on legal history and will assist not only lawyers and law students but all interested readers to better understand why our legal system is as it is. The work also provides an understanding of the dangers of forgetting the common laws roots in Christianity and in particular in the use of reason grounded in faith. It demands publication”.
— Michael Quinlan, Dean & Professor of Law, The University of Notre Dame Australia, (Sydney)
“I very much enjoyed reading this book by Dr Augusto Zimmermann. I think the book has the great potential to have a timeless impact and its historical overview of the Christian foundations of the common law and the laws of the U.S. and Australia is thorough, important and timely. In sum, this is an excellent and timely work, for which I deeply commend its author”.
— Michael V. Hernandez, Dean & Professor of Law, Regent University School of Law, U.S.A.
“Awareness of history is the most serious casualty of our age. If it is taught at all, it is too often restricted to topical issues and current events in isolation from their larger context. In the legal profession, for example, few practitioners fully appreciate the huge dependence of the Common Law on Christian principles; Christian moral theology and philosophy lie at the very heart of western jurisprudence. Professor Zimmermann’s wonderful book outlines these connections, confidently ranging over an enormous and ambitious body of material and setting them out with lucidity and grace. Such a book is a treasure, much needed and long overdue”.
— David Daintree AM, Director, The Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies (Tasmania), Author of ‘Soul of the West: Christianity and the Great Tradition’
“This is an eminently readable book which should be read by law students, legal academics, practising lawyers and the judiciary. I also recommend the book to those who, although they may not have been trained in the rigorous discussion of legal and moral issues, are nevertheless interested in understanding the legal, philosophical and Christian roots of our legal system. Hence, it is with pleasure that I recommend this book to the widest possible readership. This book is erudite, informative, well-written and researched and most importantly, it is a timely reminder of the Christian heritage of the Common Law that has served us so well for many centuries”.
— Gabriël A. Moens, Emeritus Professor of Law, The University of Queensland, Former Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Law Dean, Murdoch University
“Attempts to limit the scope of public discourse to the strictly secular are pushing Christianity and its conception of the “good life” to the margins of society. At a time when religious belief is increasingly cast as a matter of private opinion that can have no bearing on the shaping of policy, Augusto Zimmermann issues a timely reminder that one of our foundational institutions – the Common Law – is deeply rooted in Christianity. This important book is both a scholarly account of those roots and a warning of the threats the Common Law tradition will face if Western civilisation slips its Christian moorings”.
— Peter Kurti, Research Fellow, Religion and Civil Society Program, The Centre for Independent Studies (Sydney)
“In an age of cynicism, apathy and despair Professor Zimmermann’s book comes as a fresh and timely reminder to not neglect the legal and parliamentary Christian foundations of our nation. With well researched material, this book documents how the history of Common Law is intrinsically intertwined with the Christian faith. It is a very enlightening, inspiring and encouraging contribution, documenting this important aspect of Australia’s Christian heritage. Every Australian needs to read it to appreciate our heritage of freedom, which one hundred thousand Australians sacrificed their lives to defend in two world wars”.
— Dr Graham McLennan, Chairman, National Alliance of Christian Leaders (NACL), Joint Founder, Christian History Research website (www.chr.org.au)
“From the perspective of a practitioner whose daily routine is arguing in court, Augusto Zimmermann’s Christian Foundations of the Common Law, with its encyclopaedic English, American and Australian perspective, is an elegant commentary on the relation between the law and ideas, both theological and philosophical. The part devoted to the United States is particularly significant for the rest of the common law world whose law is so much influenced by that country. This is a must read book for anyone who wishes to understand where we are and where we came from.”
— Michael McAuley, President, St Thomas More Society (Australia), Barrister, Selborne Chambers (Sydney)
“We are indebted to Augusto Zimmermann for his magnificent account of the role played by Christian philosophy in the development of the legal systems of England, the U.S. and Australia. This is a highly significant and original work, written with great clarity and directness yet displaying profound historical and theological scholarship. It is especially relevant in our times when scant attention is paid to the contribution of Christian values and beliefs to human life. This book will enrich the understanding of many, but it will also challenge and irritate that realm of secularist thought that sees Christianity as a dark and sinister presence on the human condition”
— Michael Mc Mahon OMI, Department of Religious Education and English, Mazenod College, Perth
“Professor Zimmermann’s book is outstanding in its breadth and depth. The Christian influence on the legal institutions that have come to define the West is proven beyond doubt in this work. Zimmermann’s study brings together not just the best historical, legal, and philosophical analyses on the question of the origins and evolution of the West’s legal traditions, but also offers original insights of its own. More and more, in spite of the declarations of secularist triumphalists, we are discovering that the institutions that have brought so much freedom and stability to the West are indeed a result of a complex set of historical traditions and practices evolving in dialogue with Christian institutions and ideas. If it is perilous for a civilization to forget the traditions that have nourished and animated its most successful and valuable institutions, then Zimmermann’s book is not merely a fascinating read but also indispensable for the task of preserving modern liberties against various creeping totalitarianisms, secularist and religious.”
— Dr Stephen Chavura B.A. (Hons. I), Ph.D. (UNE), Senior Research Associate, Department of Modern History and Politics, Macquarie University, Sydney.
“At a time when Christianity is being pushed out of the public square, Dr Zimmermann’s latest book is a timely and important antidote to the modern myth that our common law rights emerged from thin air or was a gift from international bodies like the United Nations. In fact, as Dr Zimmermann’s historical analysis reveals, the reason we have a public square is that of early English legal developments driven by theologians and Christian jurists. Dr Zimmermann has yet again made an important contribution to the legal literature which should be required reading by all first year law students (as well as the lecturers!)”.
–Morgan Begg, Research Fellow, Institute of Public Affairs (Melbourne)
“Christianity, history and law all get a bad rap nowadays. They are ignored, denounced or misrepresented. Yet all three are vital to modern democracies, and all three are closely related as Dr Zimmerman so brilliantly demonstrates in this important volume. This exceedingly thorough, well-researched, and well-written book is essential reading for those who would see faith and freedom retain their much-needed role in Western society”.
— Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch, Author of ‘Modern Conservative Thought’
Christian Foundations of the Common Law
Volume 2: The United States
Paperback, 226 pages