Law and Truth in Biblical and Rabbinic Literature

Available
Product Details
Price
$43.20
Publisher
Indiana University Press
Publish Date
Pages
240
Dimensions
6.3 X 9.3 X 0.9 inches | 1.05 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9780253354112

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About the Author

Chaya T. Halberstam is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.

Reviews

"Precedent for reining in the reach of religious authorities . . . exists very far back in the Jewish legal tradition, or so argues Indiana University's Chaya T. Halberstam in Law and Truth in Biblical and Rabbinic Literature (Indiana, February). The Torah may posit religious law that can be applied to human conduct, but the earliest rabbis, in Halberstam's readings, weren't so sure that humans could interpret, gather evidence, and administer justice with anything like divine precision."--Josh Lambert, Tablet Magazine - project Nextbook

"Can we ever be sure we know the truth? Does being religious mean you are sure you know what God wants? Halberstam explores these questions in the Bible and among the rabbis of the Mishnah, in both legal and theological contexts. Analyzing large swaths of texts from the Mishnah, Mekhilta, Sifra, and Sifre, Halberstam focuses on case studies from three areas--ritual laws of purity, civil law, and capital punishment. In each case, she emphasizes the things that the Bible took for granted and the ways in which the Rabbis problematized those assumptions, replacing them with legal constructs. Trained in biblical studies and expanding those skills into rabbinics, Halberstam is more sensitive than most to the ways in which the Rabbis departed from their biblical sources. She applies the latest theories in the study of rabbinics to the texts before her, teasing out a basic underlying worldview. ...thought-provoking...convincing. Bibliography, index, notes."--Jewish Book World / Jewish Book Council

"This interdisciplinary book makes a contribution to understanding the rabbinic legal process and rabbinic sensibilities, incorporating law, logic, narrative, feminism, and theology to explicate rabbinic legal authority and its limits. It is divided into two parts: 'Truth and Human Jurisprudence' and 'Truth and Divine Justice.' Halberstam asks, 'How can humans ever attain the knowledge required to administer and implement divine law and render perfect justice ...?' The author (Indiana Univ., Bloomington) deals with rabbinic juridical decision-making and standards of proof, establishing facts and evidence, rabbinic juridical procedure, and the shaping of law. She does a nice job of distinguishing between testimony that stands (qayemet) and is nullified (betalah) and a judge who either acquits (mezakeh) or convicts (mehayeb). She argues that early rabbinic jurisprudence is characterized by uncertainty--that rabbinic understandings of the law were filled with doubt, ambiguity, and indeterminacy as to the possibility of justice on the stage of human history. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above. -- Choice"--D. B. Levy, Touro College, Lander College for Women, November 2010

"fix this."--

"This interdisciplinary book makes a contribution to understanding the rabbinic legal process and rabbinic sensibilities, incorporating law, logic, narrative, feminism, and theology to explicate rabbinic legal authority and its limits. . . . Recommended."--Choice

"Law and Truth makes for fascinating reading, even if one doesn't completely accept its premise. . . . [T]he discussions of the difference between biblical and rabbinic text are important for anyone looking to understand the development of the Jewish religion. June 25, 2010"--The Reporter

"Trained in biblical studies and expanding those skills into rabbinics, Halberstam is more sensitive than most to the ways in which the Rabbis departed from their biblical sources. She applies the latest theories in the study of rabbinics to the texts before her, teasing out a basic underlying worldview. . . . thought-provoking . . . convincing."--Jewish Book World

"The book will be welcomed by those seeking to understand some of the intellectual and practical dilemmas faced by the early rabbis, in particular areas."--H-Judaic

"Adds an important aspect to our understanding of rabbinic legal thinking specifically, as well as to our understanding of rabbinic sensibilities and rabbinic piety in general."--Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert, Stanford University