ResearchLinks – 10.12.12
Religion & Liberty Online

ResearchLinks – 10.12.12

Panel: “Why Morality-Free Economic Theory Doesn’t Work”

“Why Morality-Free Economic Theory Does Not Work: A Natural Law Perspective in the Wake of the Recent Financial Crisis.” The recent worldwide financial crisis has revealed a serious flaw in current thinking about markets and morals. Contemporary legal theorists and political economists commonly assume that markets can (and even should) provide morally neutral zones for the exchange of goods among free persons, constrained by nothing other than the laws of contract and the imperatives of self-interest. Professor Bruni’s lecture will challenge this dominant assumption, and will offer an alternative, ‘natural law’ perspective on the interrelatedness of markets, morals, and human sociality.

Resource: “Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism”

GlobeTheoLib, the Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism, was launched in September 2011 as a joint project of the WCC and, a Geneva-headquartered foundation promoting dialogue on ethical issues. GlobeTheoLib uses the electronic platform of, which started a Global Digital Library on Ethics in 2008. The online theology library holds more than 600,000 full-text documents, according to a report presented to the annual meeting of the GlobeTheoLib Consortium in Geneva from 21-22 September. Registered users come from all continents and the main Christian traditions. The web portal is multilingual, and Chinese-language users now have access to the full GlobeTheoLib portal in Chinese alongside English, French, German and Spanish. Indonesian and other languages are in preparation. Documents can be submitted in any language. GlobeTheoLib aims to use new digital models of information exchange to create greater visibility for theological knowledge and insights from churches of the global South.

Article: “The Evangelical Foundations of Modern Anglo-American Approaches to International Law”
John D. Haskell. “Divine Immanence: The Evangelical Foundations of Modern Anglo-American Approaches to International Law.” Chinese Journal of International Law 11, no. 3 (2012): 429-467.

In this article, I hypothesize that against mainstream secularization accounts concerning the 19th-century development of modern international law, especially within the Anglo-American experience, the discipline was significantly influenced by liberal Protestantism. My argument is that a liberal Protestant cultural elite, to which the first generation of international jurists belonged, drew inspiration from the theological doctrine of divine immanence to solidify their socio-political authority against a diverse series of internal and external threats.

Book Review: “Rethinking Religion and World Affairs”
Timothy Samuel Shah, Alfred C. Stepan, Monica Duffy Toft, eds. Rethinking Religion and World Affairs. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Reviewed by Andrew Preston (Cambridge University).

Are the disciplines of international relations theory (IR) and international history (IH) undergoing a religious turn? Both were long in thrall to the realist paradigm before being diversified and complicated in the last few decades by constructivism and its offshoots (IR), and the cultural turn (IH). Constructivism and the cultural turn emphasized forces and factors other than the traditionally realist preoccupations of power and security. Yet even with these new modes of thinking, ones more attuned to culture, religion remained ignored by IR constructivists and IH culturalists alike.

Book Review: “Midnight Ride, Industrial Dawn”
Robert Martello. Midnight Ride, Industrial Dawn: Paul Revere and the Growth of American Enterprise. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. Reviewed by Allan Branstiter (University of Southern Mississippi).

In Midnight Ride, Industrial Dawn, Robert Martello examines the nature and implications of the concurrent Cultural and Industrial Revolutions of late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century America. Using the career of Paul Revere as a lens, Martello argues that Revere “helped America close the technological gap with Britain and moved the nation closer to the ideas of industrial capitalism” (p. 4). Martello explains, often in great detail, how Revere employed his skills to manage laborers, collect capital, and innovate new technologies in order to propel his country’s economy through a transition from a craft system to a proto-industrial economy.

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.