Joint Straus/Senior Emile NoËl Fellow

Academic Year 2011-2012

Rafael Domingo

Rafael Domingo

Rafael Domingo (born 1963; PhD 1987) is Professor of Law and former Dean of the University of Navarra School of Law (Spain). In addition, Professor Domingo currently serves as Director of the Global Law Collection by Thomson Reuters Aranzadi and President of the Maiestas Foundation. Rafael Domingo is a member of the Spanish Academy of Moral Sciences and Politics (Madrid), the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Vienna), and the National Academy of Law and Social Sciences (Cordoba, Argentina). Professor Domingo has an extensive list of publications, including more than ten books and seventy articles and book reviews on ancient Roman law, comparative law, legal history, and philosophy of international law. His most recent book is entitled The New Global Law (Cambridge University Press, 2010). To see a complete CV visit here.


A New Global Paradigm for Religious Freedom

During my fellowship at the Straus Institute, it is my intent to explore the Roman historical interconnections between law (ius) and religion (religio) in order to illuminate the current debate about the role of religion in public sphere. Roman law was a creation of the pontifical jurisprudence and, in some ways, a rational distillation of religion. In the course of the third century B.C., a new secular science of Roman law was gradually developed by member of the pontifical college. The secularization of law as a process is key to understanding this deep transformation and the newly evolving Roman law, one of the most original contributions of Antiquity.

Does legal secularization mean that law has to totally renounce its religious origin? Does the voice of religion have to be silenced by law? I will try to explain that the secularization of law is a consequence of the rational nature of law and does not imply a marginalization of religion. The secularization of law means that law is not “under religion” nor is “religion under law”. Both of them, however, need mutual protection and reciprocal support: law has to defend freedom of religion, and religion has to collaborate with law in the search for human truth and dignity.