John Witte

John Witte, Jr.,  a world-renowned scholar of legal history, is Robert W. Woodruff University Professor of Law, Alonzo L. McDonald Distinguished Professor, and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University.  A specialist in legal history, marriage law, and religious liberty, he has published 250 articles, 17 journal symposia, and 28 books. 

Recent book titles include: Sex, Marriage and Family Life in John Calvin’s Geneva, 2 vols. (2005, 2014); Modern Christian Teachings on Law, Politics, and Human Nature, 3 vols. (2006); God’s Joust, God’s Justice: Law and Religion in the Western Tradition (2006); The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism (2007); Christianity and Law: An Introduction (2008); The Sins of the Fathers: The Law and Theology of Illegitimacy Reconsidered (2009); Christianity and Human Rights: An Introduction (2010); Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment (3d ed. 2011);  Religion and Human Rights: An Introduction (2012); From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition (2d ed. 2012); and No Establishment of Religion: America’s Original Contribution to Religious Liberty (2012).  

Professor Witte’s writings have appeared in fifteen languages, and he has delivered more than 350 major public lectures throughout North America, Europe, Japan, Israel, Hong Kong, Australia, and South Africa. With major funding from the Pew, Ford, Lilly, Luce, and McDonald foundations, he has directed 12 major international research projects on democracy, human rights, and religious liberty, and on marriage, family, and children. He edits three major book series, “Law and Christianity,” “Studies in Law and Religion,” and “Religion, Marriage and Family” and coedits The Journal of Law and Religion. He has been selected twelve times by the Emory law students as the Most Outstanding Professor and has won scores of other awards and prizes for his teaching and research.  

Professor Witte is married to Eliza Ellison, a theologian and mediator. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.