Law And Truth In Biblical And Rabbinic Literature

Hardcover | January 26, 2010

byChaya T. Halberstam

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How can humans ever attain the knowledge required to administer and implement divine law and render perfect justice in this world? Contrary to the belief that religious law is infallible, Chaya T. Halberstam shows that early rabbinic jurisprudence is characterized by fundamental uncertainty. She argues that while the Hebrew Bible created a sense of confidence and transparency before the law, the rabbis complicated the paths to knowledge and undermined the stability of personal status and ownership, and notions of guilt or innocence. Examining the facts of legal judgments through midrashic discussions of the law and evidence, Halberstam discovers that rabbinic understandings of the law were riddled with doubt and challenged the possibility of true justice. This book thoroughly engages law, narrative, and theology to explicate rabbinic legal authority and its limits.

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How can humans ever attain the knowledge required to administer and implement divine law and render perfect justice in this world? Contrary to the belief that religious law is infallible, Chaya T. Halberstam shows that early rabbinic jurisprudence is characterized by fundamental uncertainty. She argues that while the Hebrew Bible creat...

Chaya T. Halberstam is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:January 26, 2010Publisher:Indiana University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0253354110

ISBN - 13:9780253354112

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Part 1. Truth and Human Jurisprudence
1. Stains of Impurity
2. Signs of Ownership
3. The Impossibility of Judgment

Part 2. Truth and Divine Justice
4. Theologies of Justice
5. Objects of Narrative

Notes
Bibliography
Index of Scriptural Verses
Index of Subjects

Editorial Reviews

"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