Universität Bonn

Katholisch-Theologische Fakultät

02. November 2022

Publikationsankündigung | Forthcoming Book Publikationsankündigung | Forthcoming Book

J Hahn, The Language of Canon Law
J Hahn, The Language of Canon Law © Oxford University Press
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The Roman Catholic Church has been criticized for many reasons, including its legalism. The growing aversion of church members to the law is fueled by the language of ecclesiastical law and its legal Latin, which excludes most of the church members from understanding and participating in debates on the church’s legal structure. In The Language of Canon Law, Judith Hahn explores the legal order of the Roman Catholic Church to better understand how the church communicates as a legal institution. She studies the character of canonical language, the grammar and terminology of canon law, and how canon law language makes use of linguistic tricks and techniques to create its typical sound. Further, Hahn discusses the comprehension difficulties that arise out of ambiguities in the law, out of transfer problems between legal and common language, and out of canon law’s confusing mix of legal, doctrinal, and moral norms. She argues that the language of canon law reveals much of the political ideology of the church hierarchy, and she deploys the tools of language and law scholarship to examine and challenge that language.
An important contribution to law and language studies, theology, and sociology alike, this book proposes a rethink of whether Latin is the appropriate language for a global and cross-cultural legal order like canon law, and suggests that the global church develop a multi-language practice in its stead.

Forthcoming February 2023, published by Oxford University Press.

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