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The Myth of the Cultural JewCulture and Law in Jewish Tradition$
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Roberta Rosenthal Kwall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780195373707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373707.001.0001

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Culture, Law, and the Development of Jewish Tradition

Culture, Law, and the Development of Jewish Tradition

(p.1) 1 Culture, Law, and the Development of Jewish Tradition
The Myth of the Cultural Jew

Roberta Rosenthal Kwall

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 furnishes an overview of cultural analysis and the study of halakhah and the Jewish tradition through a cultural analysis framework. It opens with a discussion of the emerging focus on law and cultural analysis in the academic world generally and identifies the salient themes of a cultural analysis approach to law. These themes stress the importance of power relationships, environment, cultural dissent, and multiple values in the development of law. Cultural analysis also relies on the narrative model because the lawmaking process is best served with stories representing a broad range of perspectives. This discussion emphasizes that law and culture should not be viewed as two distinct entities but rather as embodiments of one another. This chapter also introduces the book’s central theme: how a cultural analysis paradigm provides an ideal way of understanding the historical development and ongoing evolution of halakhah and the mesorah.

Keywords:   cultural analysis, Jewish law, Jewish tradition, halakhah, mesorah, narrative, power relationships, cultural dissent

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