Natural Law and Interfaith Relations: A Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Trialogue

Co-sponsored by the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society, the Penn Muslim Law Student Association, the Penn Muslim Student Association, the John Marshall Pre-Law Honor Society, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the Jewish Law Students Association, and the Christian Legal Society of Penn.

Where: Penn Law School

                Gittis 213

                3501 Sansom Street, Phila, PA, 19104

When: Thurs, Oct. 27th at 5:00pm, with Reception to Follow

In a world that appears increasingly polarized and fractured, especially across religious and cultural divisions, could natural law offer a new principle of unity? Join Collegium as co-authors Dr. Novak, Dr. Levering, and Dr. Emon come together to revisit their collaborative volume, Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2014).  In this project, they reflect on Natural Law doctrine through the interconnected lens of their respective academic disciplines and faith traditions.  Drawing on classical thinkers from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, each reflects on how the particularity of the respective religious tradition is squared with the evident universality of natural law claims.  Their dialogue, as co-authors and panelists, provides a forum for further discussion among their respective scholarly and religious communities on natural law and shared morality.

Panelists: 

Dr. Anver M. Emon: Professor and Canada Research Chair in Religion, Pluralism, and the Rule of Law at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Matthew Levering: James N. and Mary D. Perry, Jr. Chair of Theology at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake

Dr. David Novak: Professor and J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto

CLE Credit: This program has been approved for 1.0 substantive CLE credits for Pennsylvania lawyers. CLE credit may be available in other jurisdictions as well. Attendees seeking CLE credit should bring separate payment in the amount of $40.00 ($20.00 public interest/non-profit attorneys) cash or check made payable to The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania.

Please RSVP HERE.  For more information, contact Elizabeth Feeney at elife@sas.upenn.edu.


Dr. Anver M. Emon is a leading scholar of Islamic law who works across multiple legal traditions in both his research and teaching, and brings that scholarly grounding to his consultations for governments, NGOs and legal advocacy groups around the world. Dr. Emon’s research focuses on premodern and modern Islamic legal history and theory; premodern modes of governance and adjudication; and the role of Shari’a both inside and outside the Muslim world.  His general academic interests include topics in law and religion; legal history; and legal philosophy. He teaches torts, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation, and offers specialized seminars on Islamic legal history, gender and Islamic law, and law and religion. The recipient of numerous research grants, he was named as a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow in the field of law.

In addition to publishing numerous articles, Emon is the author of Islamic Natural Law Theories (Oxford University Press, 2010), and Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law: Dhimmis and Others in the Empire of Law (Oxford University Press, 2012), as well as the co-editor of Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law: Searching for Common Ground? (Oxford University Press, 2012).  He is the founding editor of Middle East Law and Governance: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and series editor of the Oxford Islamic Legal Studies Series.

Dr. Matthew Levering received a B.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, M.T.S. at Duke University, and Ph.D. at Boston College.  Previous appointments include: assistant professor of theology at Ave Maria College, associate professor of theology at Ave Maria University, Myser Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, and professor of theology at University of Dayton.  He has authored numerous books including Christ’s Fulfillment of Torah and Temple, Scripture and Metaphysics, Sacrifice and Community, Participatory Biblical Exegesis, Biblical Natural Law, Ezra and Nehemiah, and Christ and the Catholic Priesthood.  He is the translator of Gilles Emery, O.P.’s The Trinity and serves as co-editor of Nova et Vetera and of the International Journal of Systematic Theology.  He is a member of the Academy of Catholic Theology and of Evangelicals and Catholics Together.

Dr. David Novak holds the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies as Professor of Religion and Philosophy in the University of Toronto, where he is a member of University College and the Joint Centre for Bioethics. In the past, he has held appointments at various prestigious universities, as well as served as the Jewish Chaplain to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., as the rabbi of several U.S. congregations, and as a consultant to the governments of the United States, Israel, and Poland, and to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.  David Novak is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), and a Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research. He is a founder, Vice President, and Coordinator of the Panel of Inquiry on Jewish Law of the Union for Traditional Judaism. He is a founder and member of the Board of Directors of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, and a member of the Advisory Board of its monthly journal First Things.

In 2006 he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada (AHRC), a federal agency, by the Governor-General of Canada. In 2008 he founded the Tikvah Fund Summer Seminar of Princeton University. In 2011 he was appointed a Project Scholar in the Religious Freedom Project of the Berkley Center of Georgetown University.