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The Siren Song Of History: Originalism And The Religion Clauses, Jeffrey Shulman Jan 2011

The Siren Song Of History: Originalism And The Religion Clauses, Jeffrey Shulman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

It is hard to foresee much happiness in the lot of those seeking the original meaning of the Religion Clauses. We may acknowledge the opacity of the historical record, the variety of viewpoints held by founders forgotten and non-forgotten, the humanness of the founders who did not always practice what they preached, even the basic indeterminancy of language; still, we are seduced by the siren song of interpretive certainty. But the search for greater clarity is not without its payoff. As the three books under review here illustrate, the more we look for answers in the historical record, the more …