Assaf Likhovski, "Protestantism and Radical Reform of English Law: A Variation on a Theme by Weber", 33 Law and Society Review 365 (1999).


Attending to an underdeveloped lacuna in Weber's sociology of law, this essay examines the relationship between protestant theology and the emergence of modern, rational legal systems. The essay argues that radical Protestantism inspired demands for the rationalization of English law, and while not successful in bringing about the concrete changes advocated, that central features of Weber's notion of rational legal thought were also central in the theology of the radical Protestants. Examining the legal thought of two groups that appeared during the English Revolution – the Levellers and the Diggers- the essay shows how theology provide these groups with a model for a more predictable law, offered them a source for the norms for their proposed legal system and motivated the desire for law reform.


Legal History, Theory and Process

Date of this Version

May 2009