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Contribution to Book
The Aesthetics of Religious Freedom
Varieties of Religious Establishment. Surrey and Burlington: Ashgate, 2013.
  • Benjamin Berger, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
Document Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
What influence might legal aesthetics have on the shape of religious freedom? Focusing on time and space as foundational elements of the perception of phenomena, this paper argues that these aesthetic intuitions are an under-examined and yet elemental component of what conditions and shapes religious freedom in liberal constitutional orders. If one takes law to be a cultural form, attention to these basic facets of legal perception is essential to understanding law’s encounter with religion. Drawing from a range of examples in the Canadian jurisprudence, this paper shows that legal approaches to religious diversity, multiculturalism, tolerance, and accommodation are all subject to and framed by these aesthetic intuitions. To wonder about the possibilities open to us for responding to religious diversity through the law requires recognizing and wrestling with the temporal and spatial aesthetics of religious freedom.

Also published as Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 33/2012 and available on SSRN.

Citation Information
Berger, Benjamin. "The Aesthetics of Religious Freedom." Varieties of Religious Establishments. Surrey and Burlington: Ashgate, 2013.