In his article in the June 2020 issue of the Journal of Institutional Economics, Dr. P.J. Hill, who served as the George F. Bennett Professor of Economics at Wheaton College until his retirement in 2011, begins by saying, “in any discussion of the beginning of modern economic growth, the concept of the rule of law plays a crucial role,” and that, “the lack of such an order is the fundamental cause of the failure of nations.”


But where did the foundations of the rule of law come from?


Hill argues that the current theories about the origin of the rule of law, while useful, are also incomplete. According to Hill, the Jewish and Christian concept of all human beings being created in God’s image is an important, but often overlooked, contributor to the rule of law in Western civilization.


Today, Acton’s Dan Churchwell is joined by Dr. P.J. Hill to discuss his research article, “The religious origins of the rule of law,” the way beliefs affect institutions in general, and how the beliefs of the Christian and Jewish faith traditions in particular were crucial to the establishment of the rule of law.


Dr. P.J. Hill at Wheaton College


The religious origins of the rule of law – P.J. Hill


P.J. Hill on the social power of markets – Joseph Sunde


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