The publishers have announced the release of the Brill Encyclopedia of Law and Religion. General Editors of this five-volume work are Gerhard Robbers, Professor Emeritus at the University of Trier and formerly Minister of Justice and for Consumer Protection of Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany), and W. Cole Durham, Jr,. Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law at Brigham Young University and Founding Director of BYU Law School's International Center for Law and Religion Studies. Associate Editor is Donlu Thayer, the Center's Senior Editor, who is also an Associate Editor of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion.
The editors acknowledge with deep gratitude the contribution of Ashley Isaacson Woolley, whose editorial expertise, applied to essentially every article, contributed immeasurably and essentially to the completion of the work. A number of people associated with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, in addition to Durham, Thayer, Woolley, and Robbers (who is a member of the Center's Academic Advisory Board), played essential roles in the production of the Encyclopedia. Thirty-four BYU Law Students*, including Center Student Fellows and Members of the Center's Student Management Board, as well as other Center Research Associates, contributed to 73 of the ELR'S 243 articles, in review, research, translation, and writing of articles. In addition, some 100 attorney volunteers from the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, working under the director of BYU Law graduate Nan Barker, performed initial editorial review of the first batch of articles in 2013.
In recent years, issues of freedom of religion or belief and state-religion relations have become increasingly important worldwide. The Encyclopedia of Law and Religion, unique in its breadth and global coverage, provides an important foundational resource for study of these issues. The encyclopedia covers the relation between law and religion in its various aspects, including those related to the role of religion in society, the relations between religion and state institutions, freedom of religion, legal aspects of religious traditions, the interaction between law and religion, and other issues at the junction of law, religion, and state.
A work that covers all independent nations and jurisdictions as well as the major international organizations has not been published before, and such a resource as the Encyclopedia of Law and Religion will make an invaluable contribution to understanding of issues of critical importance in the modern world.
Each article provides the following information for the broadest comparative advantage: social facts, historical background, position of religion in the legal system, individual religious freedoms, legal status of religious communities, right of autonomy, active religious communities and cultures, labor law within religious communities, religious assistance in public institutions, legal position of religious personnel and members of religious orders, matrimonial and familial laws, religious and criminal laws, and country-specific issues.
Offered as an online reference work as well as initially in five print volumes – (I) Africa, (II) the Americas, (III) Asia, (IV) Europe, and (V) Oceania, Special Territories, International Organizations and Index – to be followed by single-volume updates as may be prudent, this work will be a valuable resource for religious and legal scholars, for advanced students, and legal practitioners. A wider audience may be found among policy makers, journalists, and indeed thoughtful people from all walks of life who seek better understanding of often polarizing issues impacting personal lives as well as national policies.
*Students contributing to the Encyclopedia were Ryan Andersen, Tanner Bean, Alex Biggs, Eva Brady, Bennett Briggs, Morgan Brungard, Jaqueline Carlton, Victoria Carlton, Tye Christensen, David Eichert, Tara Fitzgerald, Adam Forsyth, Lauren Flores, Raquel Flores, John Gibbons, Michael Goodrich, James Heilpern, Bryant Hinckley, Carl Hollan, Travis Hyer, Ryan Jolley, Branden Kartchner, Charles Ladbrooke, Monique Mullenaux Laing, Aline Longstaff, Daniel Lyman, Scott Ludlow, Leilani Maldonado, Grace Mburu, Abby McKeon, Annalee Hickman Moser, Eimi Priddis, Lauren Ravsten Robbins, M. Brian Sabey, and Richard Alex Storms.