The Western Case for Monogamy over Polygamy (Law and Christianity)
Cambridge University Press, 5/5/2015
EAN 9781107101593, ISBN10: 110710159X
Hardcover, 550 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 3 cm
For more than 2,500 years, the Western tradition has embraced monogamous marriage as an essential institution for the flourishing of men and women, parents and children, society and the state. At the same time, polygamy has been considered a serious crime that harms wives and children, correlates with sundry other crimes and abuses, and threatens good citizenship and political stability. The West has thus long punished all manner of plural marriages and denounced the polygamous teachings of selected Jews, Muslims, Anabaptists, Mormons, and others. John Witte, Jr carefully documents the Western case for monogamy over polygamy from antiquity until today. He analyzes the historical claims that polygamy is biblical, natural, and useful alongside modern claims that anti-polygamy laws violate personal and religious freedom. While giving the pro and con arguments a full hearing, Witte concludes that the Western historical case against polygamy remains compelling and urges Western nations to hold the line on monogamy.
1. From polygamy to monogamy in ancient Judaism
2. Monogamy versus polygamy in the early church
3. Polygamy in the laws of state and church in the first millennium
4. The medieval case for monogamy over polygamy
5. Polygamous experiments in early Protestantism
6. The Calvinist case against polygamy and its civil law impact
7. The English case against polygamy
theology, politics, and the early modern common law
8. The early modern liberal case for polygamy
9. The Enlightenment liberal case against polygamy
10. The American case against polygamy.