Librarian of Congress James H. Billington recently appointed John Witte Jr., a professor at Emory University, to the Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History at the Library’s John W. Kluge Center.
The Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History was established to explore the history of America with special attention to the ethical dimensions of domestic economic, political and social policies.
While at the Library, Witte will work on his book “Why Two in One Flesh? The Western Case for Monogamy over Polygamy,” which will investigate the historic evolution of the Western tradition of marriage and the reasons for the current day prohibition of polygamy, including ethical as well as practical considerations.
At Emory University in Atlanta, Witte is Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law, Alonzo L. McDonald Family Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. Witte also serves as a member of the Scholars Council at the Kluge Center.
The Maguire Chair research includes the conduct of politics and government at all levels of American life and in all branches of government as well as the ethical dimension of leadership in religion, business, urban affairs, law, science and medicine. The chair holder concentrates on domestic American matters with special emphasis on how law relates to ethics.
Witte is a specialist in legal history, marriage law and religious liberty. He has published 220 articles, 15 journal symposia and 26 books, including “Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment” (2000, 2011); “Christianity and Human Rights” (2010); and “The Sins of the Fathers: The Law and Theology of Illegitimacy Reconsidered” (2009).