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Debt or Sin ? The Moral Roots of European Legal and Economic Thought
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jeudi27octobre2022
vendredi28octobre2022

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Debt or Sin ? The Moral Roots of European Legal and Economic Thought


Presentation

 

The objective of this conference is to analyse the moral foundations of European legal and economic thought, especially in questions related to debt. Following the financial crisis of 2008 and the sovereign debt crisis of 2011, the moral roots of legal doctrine (notably in the fields of contract lawand insolvency law) and economic policy advice (e.g. austerity programs) became more apparentthan ever as creditors and debtors got caught up in a traditional morality play, mutually accusing each other of immoral and inhuman behaviour. More recently, the European post-Covid recovery fund has re-ignited debate between “saints” and “sinners” in economic policy. Although vague references were made in the media about allegedly Protestant origins of the rather severe attitude adopted by some of EU-member states, very few efforts were made to provide a thorough historical explanation of the close interconnection between law, economics and (religious) morality in Western thought. The ambition of this conference is to improve our understanding of the symbiosis of moral, legal and economic arguments in the history of the European legal tradition. Without neglecting the ancient and medieval roots of the debate, the focus will lie on a formative albeit neglected stage in the development of European legal and economic thought, namely the early modern period (ca. 1500-1800). A third session of the conference will assess the lasting impact, in the modern era, of the moral confusion in debt-related legal, economic and political debates.

Background

The conference is a joint initiative of researchers within UCLouvain's Institute for Interdisciplinary Legal Studies (JURI) and KU Leuven's Department of Roman Law and Legal History. It partly draws on research undertaken within the project “Debt or Sin ? Legal-Theological Roots of the Moral Confusion in the EU Debt Crisis”, sponsored by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO, 2016-2020)

 

Programme

 

Thursday 27 October 2022

 

8:30 : Opening of the conference room – coffee

8:35 : Welcome
Henri Culot, UCLouvain, President JUR-I

8:45 : Introduction
Wim Decock, UCLouvain and Wouter Druwé, KU Leuven

 

Session 1 - Ancient and Medieval Foundations (Theology, Philosophy, Law)

 

Panel 1.1 - Theological and Philosophical Foundations

9:00 : The New Testament and Debt, incl. the Lord's Prayer
Geert Van Oyen, UCLouvain

The Metaphysics of Debt in the Patristic and Medieval Scholastic Tradition : Anthropological and Legal Perspectives
Rafael Van Damme, KU Leuven [written contribution to be included in collective volume, no conference talk]

Extreme Necessity and Debt : Reappraising Scotus
Daniel Schwartz, Hebrew University Jerusalem

Debate

10:15 : Coffee break

 

Panel 1.2 - Ancient and Medieval Legal Foundations

10:30 : The Ius Commune Legacy: Medieval Civil and Canon Law of Debt
Antonia Fiori, Rome La Sapienza

Greco-Roman Foundations, with a focus on the Byzantine reception of Roman Law
Hylkje de Jong, VU Amsterdam

Debate

 

Session 2 - The Debt-Sin Confusion in Early Modern Confessional Europe

 

Panel 2.1 - The Iberian peninsula

11:50 : Insolvency Law in Early Modern Portugal
Ana Isabel Fouto, Lisbon

Insolvency Law in Early Modern Spain
Patricia Zambrana Moral, Malaga [written contribution to be included in collective volume, no conference talk]

Debate

 

12:30 : Sandwich lunch

 

Panel 2.2 - Italy and France

13:30 : Early Modern Italy : debt and insolvency
Luisa Brunori, Lille/CNRS

Insolvency and Debt among French Canonists and Civilists
Cyrille Dounot, Clermont-Auvergne

Debate

14:45 : Coffee break

 

Panel 2.3 - The British Isles

15:00 : Debt and Insolvency in the Early Modern English Chancery
Fleur Stolker, Oxford

'Course and Delicate Justice' : The Boundaries of Law, Ethics, and Commercial Society in 18th Century Scotland
Stephen Bogle, Glasgow

Debate

16:15 : Coffee Break

 

Panel 2.4 - The Holy Roman Empire

16:30 : Conrad Summenhart on late medieval German theological-juridical thinking about debt
Joost Possemiers, KU Leuven

Lutheran Theologians on Insolvency and Debt
Paolo Astorri, Copenhagen

17:45 : Debate

19:00 : Conference dinner

 

 

Friday 28 October 2022

 

8:30 : Opening of conference room – coffee

 

Session 2 (Cont.) - The Debt-Sin Confusion in Early Modern Confessional Europe

 

Panel 2.5 - The Low Countries

8:45 : Debt and Insolvency in Early Modern Amsterdam : Religious Influences on the Desolate Boedelskamer ?
Maurits den Hollander, Tilburg

The Morality of Debt according to Early Modern Calvinist Preachers in Holland : The Case of Daniel Souterius
Joost Hengstmengel, Rotterdam

Insolvency and Debt according to Early Modern Jurists from the Southern Low Countries
Wouter Druwé, KU Leuven

Debate

10:30 : Coffee break

 

Session 3 - Disappearance and Resurgence of the Moral Confusion in Modern Times

 

Panel 3.1 - An Economic Perspective

10:50 : The Moral Confusion in Contemporary Economic Debates
Paul De Grauwe, London School of Economics

Debate

 

12:30 : Sandwich lunch

 

Panel 3.2 - Legal Perspectives

13:30 : Morality and Dutch Commercial Law in the 19th and 20th centuries
Janwillem Oosterhuis, Maastricht

US Influence in France, Belgium and Germany : The Right to Fail
Dave De ruysscher, Tilburg/VUB

Moral Considerations in Contemporary Belgian Private Law
Jonathan Vandenbogaerde, UGent

The Ongoing Significance of Debt-Sin in the Law of Obligations
Françoise Auvray, KU Leuven [written contribution to be included in collective volume, no conference talk]

Debate

15:15 : Coffee break

 

Concluding session

15:30 : Observations and tentative synthesis
Alain Wijffels, UCLouvain/KULeuven

Closing debate

16:15 : End of the colloquium

 

 

Contact au CHJ : Renaud Limelette


Journées organisées par l'Université Catholique De Louvain


Louvain House
Aula Magna
Porte Lemaître 1
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve- Belgique

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