Moral Quandaries: Religion and Modern Law in Egypt" explores the entanglement between modern legal reform and morality. Between the 1880s and the 1930s, a new conception of law took root in Egypt.
As part of the apparatus of the centralizing state, positivist law contrasted with established moral legal frameworks. Whereas these frameworks had focused on cultivating moral subjects bottom-up through communal structures, positivist law sought to discipline the individual top-down, eschewing questions of morality. This project traces the making of modern law through genealogies of five concepts essential to the nation-state system. Each case shows how translations and codification - by British and Egyptian officials and legislators, foreign missionaries, and everyday people amid the ascendance of international law - rearranged or confined moral lexicons and practices toward state-defined public order. This research sheds new light on the place of religion in public life both in Egypt and globally.