The Inherence of Human Dignity

The Inherence of Human Dignity

Law and Religious Liberty, Volume 2

Edited by Barry W. Bussey & Angus J. L. Menuge

The second of two volumes on dignity, Law and Religious Liberty focuses on the connection between human dignity and positive law, oriented around the central question, “What role should dignity play in the development of legislation and the adjudication of disputes involving religious freedom?”

Hardback, 276 Pages


February 2021

£80.00, $125.00

  • About This Book
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  • Author Information
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  • Table of Contents
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About This Book

For the 2019 IVR World Congress of Philosophy of Law meeting in Lucerne, Switzerland, Drs. Barry W. Bussey and Angus J. L. Menuge organized a special workshop on the inherence of human dignity, featuring participation from philosophers, legal scholars, and legal practitioners from around the world. Many of the chapters in these volumes are the result of that invigorating two-day workshop. In addition, several new papers were solicited to round out each volume so that it offers broad coverage of the issues it addresses. 

The second volume, Law and Religious Liberty, explores the value of dignity as a foundation for law. It addresses the following questions. What context is necessary to create an understanding of the need to protect human dignity? Is dignity a useful legal concept or not? If it is, what difference does it make if dignity is recognized in a state’s constitution? Can we discover dignity by its de facto role in legal decisions? Should dignity be extended to groups? What are the practical, legal implications of various understandings of human dignity for international law, religious freedom cases and the permissibility of legal determination of religious doctrine?


Occupying a place front and center among important moral phenomena in need of robust explanation is the dignity of human persons. As such this perennially fascinating topic constitutes a powerful test case for rival explanatory candidates, an eminently telling clue to the import of the human condition and the very nature of reality. The essential dignity and unspeakably great worth of each and every human being is both a vital humanistic and humanizing doctrine, and an ineliminable moral datum that veritably cries out for adequate explanation to do it justice. The most penetrating explanations of human dignity refuse to domesticate or deflate it, but rather allow its full reverential and evidential force to be felt. This diverse collection adds a chorus of intelligent and insightful voices to this timely and timeless exploration, providing clarifying analysis, points of resonance and common ground across divergent views, as well as tensions and disagreements that ultimately, and instructively, may prove insuperable. — David Baggett, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Moral Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, USA

The political and legal battle over how we understand human dignity is right at the heart of the comprehensive crisis that is rocking the advanced modern world to its foundations, and there is no better scholarly exploration of that concept than the work published in these two invaluable volumes. — Greg Forster, Ph.D., Director, Oikonomia Network, Assistant Professor of Faith and Culture, Trinity International University, USA

The Inherence of Human Dignity, Vol. 1 and 2, deserves a wide readership. Barry Bussey and Angus Menuge have drawn together an important collection of essays from a diverse group of authors in order to explore different conceptions of human dignity and how it is to be grounded. — Robert A. Larmer, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Bussey and Menuge have edited a magisterial, brilliant two volume work that should be essential reading for anyone interested in a commitment to human dignity. — Charles Taliaferro Overby Distinguished Chair and Professor of Philosophy, St. Olaf College, USA

“Human rights protect human dignity. But what is human dignity? Why is it important? An international group of scholars comments first on grounding human dignity and second on human dignity’s competing conceptions. By editing these essays, Barry Bussey and Angus Menuge have done the scholarly community a great service”.—Prof. dr. Paul Cliteur, Professor of Jurisprudence, Leiden University.

“Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (or Maastricht Treaty, 1992) states that ‘The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.’ This Article makes human dignity a notion that is relevant for legal scholars, politicians, and others who want to understand the foundations of contemporary European culture. Barry Bussey and Angus Menuge have done an excellent job collecting some of the most thought-provoking contributions on this topic. This book deserves a wide readership.” — Prof. dr. Afshin Ellian, Professor of Jurisprudence, Leiden University.

Author Information

Barry W. Bussey is Director of Legal Affairs, at the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities and Associate Adjunct Professor of Law at University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney.

Angus J. L. Menuge is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin and past President of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. 


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Table of Contents

Foreword, Heiner Bielefeldt; Table of cases; Introduction, Barry W. Bussey; Part I Dignity as Foundation of Law; Chapter One ‘Acts Which Have Outraged the Conscience of Humankind’, Clint Curle; Chapter Two Abstract Language and Invisible Associations: The Necessity for Clear Language to Maintain Genuine Rights and Freedoms, Iain T. Benson; Chapter Three Human Dignity as an Explicit Constitutional Norm, Katya Kozicki and William Soares Pugliese; Chapter Four Discovering Dignity in Adjudication: The Jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Andrea Pin; Chapter Five The New Dignity Jurisprudence: A Critique, Angus J. L. Menuge; Chapter Six Against Group Dignity: Contemporary Human Rights Instruments and Their Attributions of Dignity to Groups, Dwight Newman, QC; Part II Religious Liberty and Human Dignity; Chapter Seven Religious Liberty and the Human Good, Robert P. George; Chapter Eight Human Dignity Found in Religious Community, Barry W. Bussey; Chapter Nine What ‘Rule of Law’ Programs Need in the Twenty-First Century, Dallas K. Miller; Chapter Ten Balancing Competing Dignity Claims: Insights from the United Kingdom and Italy, Matteo Frau and Vito Breda; Chapter Eleven Trinity Western University and the Future of Conservative Religious Education, Greg Walsh; Chapter Twelve Sacrifi cing Dignity to Protect Dignity: Human Dignity and Exclusion Zones in Australia, Michael Quinlan; Chapter Thirteen Respecting the Dignity of Religious Organizations: When Is It Appropriate for Courts to Decide Religious Doctrine?, Neil Foster; Notes on Contributors; Index.


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