Jaroslav Pelikan compares the methods by which the official interpreters of the Bible and the Constitution—the Christian Church and the Supreme Court, respectively—have approached the necessity of interpreting, and reinterpreting, their important texts. In spite of obvious differences, both texts require close, word-by-word exegesis, an awareness of opinions that have gone before, and a willingness to ask new questions of old codes, Pelikan observes. He probes for answers to the question of what makes something authentically “constitutional” or “biblical,” and he demonstrates how an understanding of either biblical interpretation or constitutional interpretation can illuminate the other in important ways.
~Christopher Levenick, Claremont Review of Books
“. . .a characteristically brilliant and original conceptual overview, one that generations of scholars will need to read—and interpret.”—Christopher Levenick, Claremont Review of Books
- (awarded to the author, not the book)
- Co-Winner of the 2004 John W. Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities and Social Sciences