The Harvard Law School Library staff invite you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of Professor Samuel Moyn’s recently published book, Christian Human Rights (Univ. Penn. Press).
Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at noon, with lunch
New Location!: Harvard Law School Room Lewis 214A (Directions)
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Samuel Moyn is Professor of Law and History at Harvard University.
He received a doctorate in modern European history from the University of California-Berkeley in 2000 and a law degree from Harvard University in 2001. He spent thirteen years in the Columbia University history department, where he was most recently James Bryce Professor of European Legal History.
He has written several books in his fields of European intellectual history and human rights history, including The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Harvard University Press, 2010), and edited or coedited a number of others. His new book, based on Mellon Distinguished Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania in fall 2014, is Christian Human Rights (2015).
His areas of interest in legal scholarship include international law, human rights, the law of war, and legal thought, in both historical and current perspective. In intellectual history, he has worked on a diverse range of subjects, especially twentieth-century European moral and political theory.
He is a co-editor of the journals Humanity and Modern Intellectual History. He helps with several book series: the Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought, the Cambridge University Press “Human Rights in History” series, and the University of Pennsylvania Press “Intellectual History of the Modern Age” series. He serves on the editorial boards of Constellations, the Historical Journal, and Modern Judaism.
Gerald L. Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, Harvard Law School
Charles S. Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Harvard University
Michael Ignatieff, Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice, John F. Kennedy School of Government
More about Christian Human Rights:
“In Christian Human Rights, Samuel Moyn asserts that the rise of human rights after World War II was prefigured and inspired by a defense of the dignity of the human person that first arose in Christian churches and religious thought in the years just prior to the outbreak of the war. The Roman Catholic Church and transatlantic Protestant circles dominated the public discussion of the new principles in what became the last European golden age for the Christian faith. At the same time, West European governments after World War II, particularly in the ascendant Christian Democratic parties, became more tolerant of public expressions of religious piety. Human rights rose to public prominence in the space opened up by these dual developments of the early Cold War.
Moyn argues that human dignity became central to Christian political discourse as early as 1937. Pius XII’s wartime Christmas addresses announced the basic idea of universal human rights as a principle of world, and not merely state, order. By focusing on the 1930s and 1940s, Moyn demonstrates how the language of human rights was separated from the secular heritage of the French Revolution and put to use by postwar democracies governed by Christian parties, which reinvented them to impose moral constraints on individuals, support conservative family structures, and preserve existing social hierarchies. The book ends with a provocative chapter that traces contemporary European struggles to assimilate Muslim immigrants to the continent’s legacy of Christian human rights.” — Univ. Penn. Press
“Samuel Moyn has emerged as the most important voice on the history of human rights in the twentieth century, and his book Christian Human Rights will be of interest to anyone who cares about human rights in general and the often forgotten context of the run-up to the Universal Declaration in particular.”— Jan-Werner Müller, Princeton University
“Christian Human Rights is consistently and stimulatingly opinionated. Samuel Moyn maintains throughout his book an excellent and authentic vigor, demonstrating that the genesis of modern human-rights rhetoric can be found in a largely conservative Christian worldview that took shape in Western Europe (as well as in North America) in the 1940s.”— Martin Conway, University of Oxford