Sunday, November 18, 2007

Harold Berman, Rest in Christ

I just read on the Volokh Conspiracy blog that law professor Harold Berman passed away. Here is the link to Todd Zywicki's thoughts ("Berman's magnum opus Law and Revolution was one of a handful of books that truly transformed my thinking about law. It is one of those books that once you read it, it is almost impossible to ever again think about law and especially legal history the same.") See also, the wonderful obit in the NYTimes and read it to the end.

I was fortunate to take a one week summer course from him a few years back -- it must have been August 2004, because I remember he was supporting John Kerry. The course was offered at Regent University Law School in Virginia Beach, about an hour from my parent's house. It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. (In fact, now that I think about it, the last day of class was on August 6, my son's birthday -- I asked him to sing my personal copy of Law and Revolution for Joseph and I will give it to him one day.) Aside from the professor and the course, which was magnificent, the class was very diverse -- ranging from Herb Titus, who at that time was counsel for Roy Moore to the very liberal gay chancellor of a West Coast Episcopal Diocese.

Prof. Berman began the class by actually giving his background and included his testimony, which was fascinating. He was raised in a non-practicing Jewish family and went to the London School of Economics. On a train ride to or from school, he told us he had an encounter with the risen Christ. He said that Jesus appeared to him, physically, as He had to Saint Paul (although Prof. Berman wryly indicated he was allowed to keep his sight) and it changes his life, setting him on the path he would follow. He further indicated this was not a story he ever told but felt comfortable telling it to our seminar.

He was truly a great man and I am thankful I was able to meet him.


Here are some of his writings available on-line:
Here is a review of the second volume of Law and Revolution from The Claremont Institute.

And an old note by former student, Randy Barnett.

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