Universiteit Antwerpen

'Law, Morality and Sacrifice: A Comparative View', May 16th 2012

Organizers: Institute of Jewish Studies and Centre for Law and Cosmopolitan Values (UA).
With the support of Institutum Iudaicum.


Moshe Halbertal’s latest book on sacrifice argues that ‘self-transcendence is at the core of human capacity for moral life’. The idea of self-transcendence, or of leaving aside one’s own self-interest and adopting the point of view of the other, resonates with a central theme in moral philosophy and religious studies. Sacrifice, moreover, is an essential phenomenon for legal and political life. This workshop addresses the role that sacrifice plays in a political and legal order, with particular emphasis on the establishment and preservation of constitutional law. This question will be approached from the perspective of legal, political and religious studies.
The workshop will raise the following questions: First, does a political and legal order need to be grounded on a sacrificial logic? The second question, arising from the contemporary fact of pluralism, considers how a given political order copes with moral conflicts arising from the performance of sacrifice. The third question considers how different monotheistic religions deal with the phenomenon of sacrifice, given that they themselves recognize a sacrificial logic. Finally, we ask which contemporary institutions are best equipped to tackle a politics that can turn self-sacrifice into a practice of idolatry, or, on the other hand, into a political order completely devoid of any sacrificial aspect (as the European Union has sometimes been described).
This workshop marks the beginning of a co-operation between the Institute of Jewish Studies and the Centre for Law and Cosmopolitan Values as pertains to the common research endeavor on the topic of ‘Law and Religion’.



Speakers and Respondents:
Moshe Halbertal (NYU Law School) (Keynote)
Arthur Cools (University of Antwerp)

Paul Kahn (Yale Law School)
Marco Goldoni (University of Antwerp)

Wolfgang Palaver (University of Innsbruck)
Luc Anckaert (University of Leuven)

Johan van der Walt (University of Luxembourg)
Paula Schwebel (University of Antwerp)

Vivian Liska (University of Antwerp)