Law Before The Law / Edition 1

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Overview

This book is a study in the law that exists before a founding moment of law giving. More specifically, it looks at one foundational moment, the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and examines how Hebrew commentators have envisioned what existed prior to receiving the commandments. How do legal systems treat law before their founding? The Law Before the Law looks at near two millennia of responses by commentators to this problem. Pre-law, as it might be called, became the repository of an alternative legal tradition. Scattered, often fragmentary discussions of the law before the law were a commonplace in the Jewish legal tradition. Often involving conjecture and imaginative reconstructions of legal arguments, these discussions were a laboratory to work out the jurisprudential problems found in ordinary Jewish law. The law before the law was often envisioned as different from law after the founding moment, a legalism more oral, more customary, more discretionary, and above all, more concerned with the psychological question of how a norm bearing person is created.

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Editorial Reviews

Winter 2010 Law and Social Inquiry
Mentioned
Steven D. Fraade
Steven Wilf has produced a profoundly interesting and important book that will long engage students of Jewish law, legal theory and practice, hermeneutics, and cultural history. It provocatively upsets, or at least problematizes, some conventional wisdoms regarding the original authority of foundational legal documents and moments, by entering the imaginative nomo-narrative worlds that both challenge and sustain them. Its subject is timely and timeless.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739123140
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Series: Graven Images Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 0.58 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Wilf is professor of law at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Chapter One: Why Legal Prehistory Matters Chapter 3 Chapter Two: In the Beginning Was the Nomos Chapter 4 Chapter Three: Did the Patriarchs Know the Torah? Chapter 5 Chapter Four: The Giving of the Commandments at Marah Chapter 6 Chapter Five: Law as Collective Memory Chapter 7 Conclusion: The Once and Future Law

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