In his new book Paolo Prodi carries out an ambitious and wide-ranging reconnaissance of one of the pillars of Western civilisation: the co-existence of different "justices", i.e., the distinction between legal norms and moral norms, between crime and sin, which has rendered possible the idea of justice based on freedoms and guarantees which is typical of our civilisation. Although it is a great historical analysis, the volume also explores the present and, indeed, is motivated by the crisis which currently seems to afflict this millenary equilibrium, due to the assault of various fundamentalist views and the sanctification of positive law, which has replaced ethics in the regulation of individual's lives. Drawing from a wide spectrum of literature, Prodi traces back to the Judaic-Christian tradition embodied in the Church a basic duality among "forums" - the law of God and the law of man - and shows how, in the course of European civilisation, especially in the modern era with the evolution of the State, a balance has been struck between the two. This process, according to Prodi, has occurred in both Catholic and Protestant areas.
Paolo Prodi teaches Modern History in the Faculty of Letters at the University of Bologna.