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Catholicism and the concept of ‘the State’ in the (1937) Irish Constitution

Kissane, Bill (2020) Catholicism and the concept of ‘the State’ in the (1937) Irish Constitution. Oxford Journal of Law and Religion. ISSN 2047-0789

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ojlr/rwaa028


The concept of the State is expressed more frequently and in more ways in the Irish (1937) constitution than in most European constitutions. The 1922 constitution had hardly mentioned the concept at all. Using the tools of conceptual history this article shows how a combination of Catholicism and nationalism led to the inflation of the State in 1937. The article also considers what this inflation tells us about the controversy over the religious origins of the constitution. Rejecting the possibility that it ‘contaminated’ the document, the language of statehood is seen rather as an example of how a constitution could harmonize religious with secular values without corrupting the secular meaning of the State.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: Government
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
K Law > K Law (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2020 16:18
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 16:35

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