Download A Living Tree: The Roots and Growth of Jewish Law by Elliot N. Dorff PDF

By Elliot N. Dorff

This ebook examines biblical and rabbinic legislations as a coherent, carrying on with felony culture. It explains the connection among faith and legislations and the interplay among legislation and morality. ample choices from basic Jewish assets, many newly translated, allow the reader to handle the culture at once as a residing physique of legislation with emphasis at the issues which are fundamental for attorneys, legislators, and judges. via an in-depth exam of non-public harm legislations and marriage and divorce legislation, the publication explores jurisprudential matters very important for any felony approach and monitors the first features of Jewish law.

A dwelling Tree might be of specific curiosity to scholars of legislations and to Jews serious about the felony dimensions in their culture. The authors supply adequate factors of the assets and their value to make it pointless for the reader to have a heritage in both Jewish reviews or legislation.

"This e-book is brilliant. It offers the correct criminal assets for comprehending Jewish legislations and extra info (historical, sociological, etc.) for realizing the evolution of Jewish legislations. The authors' reviews are continually transparent and worthwhile and often insightful. The manuscript is not just attention-grabbing however it is interesting. the subject is critical to Judaic reviews and to ancient reviews regularly. it's the top number of fabric on Jewish legislations to be had within the United States." -- Martin Edelman, nation college of latest York at Albany

"What i admire so much approximately this e-book is the breadth of remedy with no sacrifice of intensity or sophistication. it is a effective English language advent to Jewish law." -- David Goodblatt , college of Maryland in school Park

"A dwelling Tree is, in our opinion, from either a pedagogical and a scholarly point of view, the best publication of its sort to be had at the present time. the original beneficial properties of this e-book make it a useful contribution to the scholarship of the sphere. certainly, in lots of methods, we might count on that this publication turns into the traditional English paintings on Jewish law." -- Rabbi David Saperstein and Sherman L. Cohn, Georgetown college legislations heart

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Additional info for A Living Tree: The Roots and Growth of Jewish Law

Sample text

Eventually the idea of a dynasty took hold, in which the right of succession passed by descent from father to son with little residual power in the clan elders to deny ratification, no matter how untalented the heir might be. E. the royal laws of the kingdoms of Mesopotamia were embodied in law codes, but the Israelites were not governed by a permanent monarchy until a thousand years later. The documents from those early times that survive in Genesis include several that appear to have been designed to serve primarily a legal function by a draftsman whose mindset would be familiar to anyone who knows how lawyers draft documents that create and protect interests in land.

Toward the end of chapter 22 the tone shifts again. Now the fair and compassionate treatment of strangers, widows, orphans, and debtors is no longer based solely on the fear of Divine anger. Instead the major appeal is to the moral quality of compassion, the memory of our own suffering that leads us not to cause others to suffer. Finally, in chapter 24 yet another tone becomes dominant. Now the covenantal act is described in ceremonial terms resembling a treaty between the elders of the tribes of Israel and God.

E. to the sixth century. It is not surprising, then, that the Torah reflects changes occurring during that length of time, although ancient societies probably changed much more slowly than our own does. Assigning inconsistent texts to different time periods often makes for a more straightforward, and probably more accurate, understanding of the discrepancies. The historical method also explains why biblical stories and institutions often parallel those of neighboring cultures. Archaeological digs in the Middle East during the last hundred years have revealed sizable quantities of written texts that had long lain buried in the sand.

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