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An Introduction to the History and Sources of Jewish Law$
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N. S. Hecht, B. S. Jackson, S. M. Passamaneck, Daniela Piattelli, and Alfredo Rabello

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198262626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262626.001.0001

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Postscript: The Judicial Process and the Nature of Jewish Law

Postscript: The Judicial Process and the Nature of Jewish Law

(p.420) (p.421) 16. Postscript: The Judicial Process and the Nature of Jewish Law
An Introduction to the History and Sources of Jewish Law

Hanina Ben-Menahem

Oxford University Press

As the traditional halakhah differs greatly from the Mishpat Ivri or the literal translation of ‘Jewish Law’, we realize that the Western concept of law has dominated and largely influenced modern scholarship on Jewish law. The Rule of Law, which is not without a rich political history, is evident upon combining the three basic claims of the Western concept of law as portrayed in Mishpat Ivri scholarship: 1) laws are under a unified system; 2) valid applications of the law should be justified under its authoritative sources; and 3) the system enables how such laws may be recognized as authoritative. Although the Rule of Law may have penetrated the traditional halakhah, such would never represent an exclusive view. However, a pluralistic view towards Jewish Law would suggest that the application of law need not be justified. This final chapter attempts to illustrate how ideologies of the halakhah may have manifested themselves through the Talmud, and how different this is from classical Western thought.

Keywords:   halakhah, Mishpat Ivri, Jewish Law, Rule of Law, Western thought, Talmud

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