From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition By John Witte Jr.

In From Sacrament to Contract, John Witte Jr. offers a study of five conflicting models of marriage--Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, and Enlightenment--and their social and political impact over the last thousand years. In so doing, Witte shows how we arrived at the notion of marriage as contract.

The Family, Culture, and Religion series offers informed and responsible analyses of the state of the American family from a religious perspective and provides practical assistance for the family's revitalization. From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition

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An extremely clear narrative of theological and legal accounts of marriage in Europe, with a focus on the changes wrought by the different strands of the Protestant Reformation. A second edition (which I have not yet looked at) apparently has stronger Biblical and patristic material as well. From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition John Witte, Jr wrote an excellent survey of the development of marriage throughout Church history. His incomparable insights into the different perspectives on marriage make this book a must-read for any serious practitioner of marriage. From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition

Magnificent! From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition Meticulously researched and overall well written. This is not going to be your beach read, or even a regular reread, but it is a significant and very helpful work of scholarship. From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition Great on history of marriage. I didn't read the whole thing as it was for class; however, the first half is stellar from Plato to St. Augustine. From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition Incredibly easy and interesting to read, especially considering the scope and complexity of the topic. From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition A great resource on the history of how the church viewed/views the institution of marriage.

The author shows five views in church history, roughly summarized by the following (from the table of contents):

Marriage as Sacrament (Roman Catholic View)
Marriage as Social Estate (Lutheran View)
Marriage as Covenant (Calvinist View)
Marriage as Commonwealth (Anglican View)
Marriage as Contract (Enlightenment View)

It is a complex issue, to be sure, and so there is a lot of overlap between various views. However, the author does a great job of sorting these views out both categorically and historically. This makes it a very helpful read.

It’s a little disappointing (to the heart) as I got the feeling the author does not himself belong to Christ, as he displays throughout the book his satisfaction with the “Enlightenment” (so-called) contractarian model of marriage (which leaves God completely out of the picture).

Yet it was still a terrific resource from a historical standpoint, and one worth reading if interested in the history of the church’s view of the institution of marriage.
From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition

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