This volume pays tribute to James E. Wood, Jr. on the occasion of his retirement in 1995 as director of the J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. Long overdue, it is the first publication giving special attention to the work of Dr. Wood, who has no peer in the world today as an authority on the subjects of church-state relations and religious liberty.
The major part of Wood's life's work has been his scholarly defense of the American tradition of separation of church and state. In our own day when the separationist tradition is being attacked by many politicians, judges, journalists, and scholars, indeed by a great segment of the American population, it is appropriate to step back and re-examine the nature, history, and purpose of the idea of the separation of church and state, and then to evaluate whether the continued application of the tradition is something good or bad for America. There is no more thoughtful and insightful body of writing to which we could turn for this re-examination than the works of James E. Wood, Jr.
While Wood's writings on the themes of church-state relations and religious liberty are extensive, the present volume draws only from the major source of his scholarship, the eighty- six editorials and articles authored by him since 1959 while serving as editor of the Journal of Church and State. Following an introductory biographical essay on the life and work of Wood, the reader will find twenty of Wood's finest editorials from the Journal. These editorials, presented chronologically, were selected with the dual goal of presenting the essential features of Wood's church-state thought while also demonstrating something of the range of topics which he has addressed under the broad theme of church and state. The editorials are followed by annotations of all eighty-six of Wood's editorials and articles published in Journal of Church and State. The annotations will provide the reader with an overview of an even broader range of topics addressed by Wood, although without, of course, the depth of coverage that might be gleaned from reading the complete texts. The annotations are followed by a complete bibliography of Wood's published works.