Publication Date

Fall 2021

Document Type



This Article investigates the sacred origins of the corporate form. It sheds light on the sacred rituals performed to establish Ancient Roman cities as legal entities. It discusses the role of the Roman Catholic Church in developing the corporate form and in giving birth to a systemized set of rules regulating corporations, which we commonly call corporate law. It analyzes the limitations to the use of the corporate form in Islamic law as well as the streams of Islamic law jurisprudence that recognize legal capacity to specific entities with religious, social, or charitable purposes. It surveys the characteristics of two ecclesiastic institutions that have contributed to the development of the modern corporate form, namely monasteries and cathedrals. The insights of this Article help advancing a critical understanding of the origins, nature, and attributes of modern business corporations. They also facilitate reflections on the relation between purpose and the corporate form.

Publication Title

Seattle University Law Review