Harvard University Press, $17.95, 192 pp.
Ronald Dworkin, who died this year at eighty-one, was one of the leading legal philosophers of his generation. He was also widely known outside the field thanks to his perch at the New York Review of Books, where he offered what one obituary called “bracingly liberal views” on current issues in U.S. constitutional law. Even his sparring partners greatly admired him. Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor who shared Dworkin’s liberal politics but disagreed with aspects of his constitutional method, dubbed him “one of the most important legal philosophers of the last hundred years,” adding, “He was not only a giant but also a good and gracious man.”
Given his iconic status, the news that Dworkin had completed a book before his death came as an unlooked-for gift. That book, Religion Without God, is a lovely swan song. It is short—it’s based on the Einstein Lectures delivered at the University of Bern in 2011—but eloquent and rich. One wants to praise it unreservedly, if only for “de mortuis nil nisi bonum” reasons. The book raises many important questions and explores them with grace and care...
Paul Horwitz is Gordon Rosen Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law and author of The Agnostic Age: Law, Religion, and the Constitution (Oxford) and First Amendment Institutions (Harvard).