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The Rise of Corporate Religious Liberty$
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Micah Schwartzman, Chad Flanders, and Zoë Robinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190262525

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190262525.001.0001

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The Jurisdictional Conception of Church Autonomy

The Jurisdictional Conception of Church Autonomy

(p.19) 2 The Jurisdictional Conception of Church Autonomy
The Rise of Corporate Religious Liberty

Steven D. Smith

Oxford University Press

This chapter defends a jurisdictional conception of institutional religious autonomy against familiar and frequent criticisms. Drawing on analogies to national and judicial jurisdictional thinking, Part 1 of the chapter seeks to clarify what it means to hold that religious institutions enjoy a “jurisdictional” form of autonomy. Part 2 addresses several familiar objections to the jurisdictional conceptions, including the objection that jurisdictional autonomy violates the logic of sovereignty and also the contention that jurisdictional autonomy is a medieval notion that is irrecoverable in modern law. Part 3 discusses a contractual justification for the jurisdictional conception.

Keywords:   church autonomy, jurisdiction, sovereignty, freedom of the church, religious institutions

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