Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Rules of Evidence: Tools of Truth?

In my January 3, 2005, post, I referenced Fordham Law Professor Thane Rosenbaum’s 2004 book, The Myth of Moral Justice. In this book, Professor Rosenbaum argues that rules of evidence are used to obscure truth in courtrooms. On the flipside, attorney Pamela Binnings Ewen writes in her 1999 book, Faith On Trial: An Attorney Analyzes The Evidence For The Death And Resurrection Of Jesus, that rules of evidence may be employed to ascertain truth. Specifically, Ms. Ewen analyzes the accounts in the Gospels through the prism of evidentiary rules. This approach largely derives from Harvard Law Professor Simon Greenleaf’s 1874 work, The Testimony Of The Evangelists. In so doing, Ms. Ewen contends that not only would such accounts be admissible in courtrooms (essentially through exceptions to hearsay exclusionary rules), but would be especially reliable and persuasive. Inasmuch as I have written papers on the topic from my days in graduate school, I plan to explore these exceptions/evidentiary rules in later posts.