The Law of God: The Philosophical History of an Idea

The Law of God: The Philosophical History of an Idea

by Remi Brague
     
 

The law of God: these words conjure an image of Moses breaking the tablets at Mount Sinai, but the history of the alliance between law and divinity is so much longer, and its scope so much broader, than a single Judeo-Christian scene can possibly suggest. In his stunningly ambitious new history, Rémi Brague goes back three thousand years to trace this idea

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Overview

The law of God: these words conjure an image of Moses breaking the tablets at Mount Sinai, but the history of the alliance between law and divinity is so much longer, and its scope so much broader, than a single Judeo-Christian scene can possibly suggest. In his stunningly ambitious new history, Rémi Brague goes back three thousand years to trace this idea of divine law in the West from prehistoric religions to modern times—giving new depth to today’s discussions about the role of God in worldly affairs.
          
Brague masterfully describes the differing conceptions of divine law in Judaic, Islamic, and Christian traditions and illuminates these ideas with a wide range of philosophical, political, and religious sources. In conclusion, he addresses the recent break in the alliance between law and divinity—when modern societies, far from connecting the two, started to think of law simply as the rule human community gives itself. Exploring what this disconnection means for the contemporary world, Brague—powerfully expanding on the project he began with The Wisdom of the World—re-engages readers in a millennia-long intellectual tradition, ultimately arriving at a better comprehension of our own modernity.

 
“Brague’s sense of intellectual adventure is what makes his work genuinely exciting to read. The Law of God offers a challenge that anyone concerned with today’s religious struggles ought to take up.”—Adam Kirsch, New York Sun
 

“Scholars and students of contemporary world events, to the extent that these may be viewed as a clash of rival fundamentalisms, will have much to gain from Brague’s study. Ideally, in that case, the book seems to be both an obvious primer and launching pad for further scholarship.”—Times Higher Education Supplement 

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226070797
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
10/01/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,439,490
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Rémi Brague is professor of philosophy at the Université de Paris I–Sorbonne and at the University of Munich. He is the author of five previous books, including The Wisdom of the World, also published by the University of Chicago Press, and Eccentric Culture.

Table of Contents

Preface
Translator’s Note
Introduction

PART I ORIGINS 
1 Prehistory 
2 The Greek Idea of Divine Law 
3 Historical Conditions of Alliance 

PART II THE DIVINE LAW 
4 The State and the Law: Ancient Israel 
5 The Legislation of the Sacred Books 

PART III SUCCESSION THROUGH TIME 
6 Mother Religions and Daughter Religions 
7 The Law as Enforced 

PART IV LAW AND CITIES IN THE MIDDLE AGES 
8 Judaism: A Law without a State 
9 Christianity: A Conflict of Laws 
10 Islam: Law Rules 

PART V DIVINE LAW IN MEDIEVAL THOUGHT 
11 The Aims of the Law: Islam 
12 The Law as an End: Judaism 
13 The End of the Law: Christianity 

PART VI SANS FOI NI LOI: NEITHER FAITH NOR LAW? 
14 The Modern Age: Destruction of the Idea of Divine Law 
15 Judaism and Islam in the Modern Age 

Conclusion
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

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