Halakhah and ethics in the Jesus tradition -- Matthew's divorce texts in the light of pre-rabbinic Jewish law -- Let the dead bury their dead : Jesus and the law revisited -- James, Israel, and Antioch -- Natural law in Second Temple Judaism -- Natural law in the New Testament? -- The Noachide commandments and New Testament ethics -- The beginning of Christian public ethics : from Luke to Aristides and Diognetus -- Jewish and Christian public ethics in (...) the early Roman Empire. (shrink)
Bringing the topic down to earth -- The body of Jewish law : how Jewish law resembles other legal systems -- The covenantal soul of Jewish law : how Jewish law is unique -- Motivations to live by Jewish law -- Continuity and change in Jewish law -- The relationship of Jewish law to morality and theology -- Jewish law and custom -- Comparisons to the right and the left -- Applications of (...) my theory of Jewish law to specific cases. (shrink)
Jewish law has a history stretching from the early period to the modern State of Israel, encompassing the Talmud, Geonic and later codifications, the Spanish Golden Age, medieval and modern responsa, the Holocaust and modern reforms. Fifteen distinct periods are separately studied in this volume, each one by a leading specialist, and the emphasis throughout is on the development of the institutions and sources of the law.
Despite the efforts of some modern Jewish law scholars, it is difficult to apply models of secular jurisprudence (whether positivist or Dworkinian) to the Jewish legal system. Internal analysis suggests that the “secondary rules” of the system are far too fragile. Rather, the system appears to privilege trust over objectively determinable truth. (But perhaps trust is a concept to which greater attention should be paid also in secular jurisprudence, as a legal realism informed by semiotics might maintain.) The (...) practical implications of this difference are here illustrated both from research on reform of Jewish marriage law and recent developments in the area of law and religion, in the wake of Archbishop Rowan Williams’ advocacy in 2008 of a model of “transformative accommodation”. (shrink)
Competition is the most basic force traditionally regarded by Western economists as governing both society's resources allocation and income distribution. No wonder, then, that many legal systems have been concerned with various aspects of competitive activity, and formulated laws and rulings to keep market behavior within limits of ethical conduct. Jewish law has not been an exception. The focus of this paper is on competition in consumption. Its underlying assumption is that lawmakers' decisions approximate optimality in resource allocation. The (...) validity of the ‘optimality’ assumption is assessed in light of the special moral features unique to Jewish law. (shrink)
Although prenatal screening is routinely undertaken as part of a woman's antenatal care, the ethics surrounding it are complex. In this paper, the author examines the Jewish position on the permissibility of several tests, including those for Down's syndrome and Tay-Sachs disease, the latter being especially common in the Jewish community. Clearly, the status of the tests depends on whether termination of affected pregnancies is allowed, and contemporary rabbinical authorities are themselves in dispute as to the permissibility of (...) terminating affected pregnancies. The nature of these arguments is examined and the author concludes that there are grounds on which the full range of prenatal screening is permitted in Jewish law. (shrink)
. What are the assumptions that underline the Jewish Law Project? To what extent is this project relates to Zionism as a political program and national vision? Does the secular version of this project and the religious one have anything in common? I argue that aside from the ideological lines that guide the Jewish Law Project, within it rests a reductionist and utopianist stance vis‐à‐vis halakhah which are considered to be obvious. I shall attempt to claim that reductionism (...) and utopianism as tacit assumptions, which are neither explicit nor declared by the carriers of the Jewish Law Project, are definitely not trivial. Then, by detrivializing these two assumptions I will suggest viewing the halakhic‐legal relations defined by the Jewish Law Project through these same parameters—the reductionism of the halakhah and its utopian approach. (shrink)
The article surveys and analyzes the roles in Judaism of the value of imago Dei/human dignity, especially in bioethical contexts. Two main topics are discussed. The first is a comparative analysis of imago Dei as an anthropological and ethical concept in Jewish and Western thought (Christianity and secular European values). The Jewish tradition highlights the human body and especially its procreative function and external appearance as central to imago Dei. The second is the role of imago Dei as (...) a moral value relative to others. In rabbinic Judaism, respect for human dignity is not the primary moral maxim; it is secondary to the value of neighborly love and sometimes to other moral laws and values. (shrink)
Following directly upon an account of the author's personal experiences as a young soldier in Gaza during the course of the first intifada in 1987, this essay is an attempt to “cash in” rabbinic statements that present the entire Torah as a path to peace. The essay suggests that the genre of rabbinic debate—rather than the specific content of rabbinic statements—can be understood as peaceful. The study of halakhic literature, which is generally understood either as designed to clarify and quantify (...) explicit legal demands or as a setting for pluralistic and progressive legal debate, is reevaluated with the purpose of limiting the potential of religious law to justify acts of violence. This reevaluation is founded upon an implicit critique of the “liberal” strategies that have sought to control the dangerous potential of religious law. The author proposes an irenic understanding of the halakha built upon partial and limited evaluations of the law's truth-claims. It argues that rabbinic debating generates multiple understandings for every detail of the law that entangle and conceal any ultimate sense of the law from view. The result is a legal system that is modest about its conclusions—and content to implement them partially—hypocritically. The religious value of such a system is that the truth claims of the law are thus modeled upon—and duplicate—the paradoxical opaqueness of prophetic revelation. Ultimately, this essay argues that this conception of the halakha is inherently tentative and hence peaceful. (shrink)
Graff observes that the significance of dina de-malkhuta dina and its interpretation ids vital for an understanding of modern Jewish life as well as the relationship of Diaspora Jews to the Jewish community in the state of Israel.
Dealing with major issues in Jewish biomedical law, this book focuses upon the influence of morality, the rise of patient autonomy, and the role played by scientific progress in this area of Jewish Law. The book examines Jewish Law in comparison with canon, common, and modern Israeli law.
This book critically and constructively explores the resources offered for natural law doctrine by classical thinkers from three traditions: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic. Three scholars each offer a programmatic essay on natural law doctrine in their particular religious tradition and then respond to the other two essays.