July 13, 2012 John Witte Jr. Named to the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair In Ethics and American History at the Kluge Center

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has 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.

While at the Library this summer, 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 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. Cary Maguire is chair and president of Maguire Oil Co. and Maguire Resources Co., and chair of Components Corp. of America and Staco Systems. Maguire is also a member of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress.

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 goal is to support research that will illuminate the responsible use of ethical knowledge for the public good. The chair holder concentrates on domestic American matters with special emphasis on how law relates to ethics.

The Maguire Chair is appointed by the Librarian of Congress, who receives recommendations from the Kluge Center.

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).

Witte edits two major book series, “Studies in Law and Religion” and “Religion, Marriage and Family.” He has been selected 11 times by the Emory law students as the Most Outstanding Professor and has won dozens of other awards and prizes for his teaching and research. Witte’s writings have appeared in 10 languages, and he has lectured in North America, Western and Eastern Europe, Japan, Israel and South Africa.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another, to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit www.loc.gov/kluge/.


PR 12-130
ISSN 0731-3527