The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics

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The interaction of Judaism and economics encompasses many different dimensions. Much of this interaction can be explored through the way in which Jewish law accommodates and even enhances commercial practice today and in past societies.

From this context, The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics explores how Judaism as a religion and Jews as a people relate to the economic sphere of life in modern society as well as in the past. Bringing together an astonishingly strong group of top scholars, the volume approaches the subject from a variety of angles, providing one of the most comprehensive, well-rounded, and authoritative accounts of the intersections of Judaism and economics yet produced. Aaron Levine first offers a brief overview of the nature and development of Jewish law as a legal system, then presents essays from a variety of angles and areas of expertise. The book offers contributions on economic theory in the bible and in the Talmud; on the interaction between Jewish law, ethics, modern society, and public policy; then presents illuminating explorations of Judaism throughout economic history and the ways in which economics has influenced Jewish history.

The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics at last offers an extensive and welcome resource by leading scholars and economists on the vast and delightfully complex relationship between economics and Judaism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Rabbi Dr. Aaron Levine is a world-renowned authority on the Talmud, on Economics, and on Ethics. Here he has put together a remarkable collection of essays on and surveys of a very wide range of issues bearing on the relationship between Jewish literature, law, and practice on the one hand, and on the other hand, economic theory and business practice—especially business ethics. The volume spans thousands of years, from Biblical times to modern Israel, and one may expect it to become a standard reference."—Robert John Aumann, Professor Emeritus, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics for 2005

"These new essays assembled by Aaron Levine constitute a landmark in bringing Jewish law and Jewish history to bear on economics as an intellectual discipline. The collection is remarkable both for its astonishing range and for the depth of scholarship on display in many of the individual essays. Scholars working at the intersection of economics and Judaica will be citing these essays for decades."—Benjamin M. Friedman, William Joseph Maier Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University, author of The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth

"What a wonderful contribution! Aaron Levine has put together a book containing individual papers that cover many diverse aspects of Judaism from the Bible and Talmud to modern day law and society. All the papers are tied together by the use of economic reasoning to gain insight into each subject. The book is breathtaking in its scope and shows the power of economic thinking to illuminate the rich tradition and history of Judaism. A striking contribution of the book is to show the relevance of Judaism to many of today's ethical and practical problems."—Dennis W. Carlton, Katherine Dusak Miller Professor of Economics, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195398625
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/7/2010
  • Series: Oxford Handbooks Series
  • Pages: 720
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Aaron Levine is the Samson and Halina Bitensky Professor of Economics at Yeshiva University. A noted authority on Jewish commercial law, he has published widely on the interface between economics and Jewish law, especially as it relates to public policy and modern business practices.

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Table of Contents

Aaron Levine

I. Economic Theory in the Bible
1. The Right to Return: The Biblical Law of Theft
Eliakim Katz and Jacob Rosenberg
2 . Eliezer the Matchmaker: Ethical Considerations and Modern
Negotiation Theory
Aaron Levine
3. Land Concentration, Efficiency, Slavery, and the Jubilee
Jacob Rosenberg and Avi Weiss

II. Economic Theory in the Talmud
4 . Risk and Incentives in the Iska Contract
Jeffrey L. Callen
5. Externalities and Public Goods in the Talmud
Ephraim Kleiman
6 . An Extended Talmudic Search Model
Yehoshua Liebermann
7. Optimal Precautions and the Law of Fire Damages
Jacob Rosenberg
8. Valuation in Jewish Law
Keith Sharfman
9. Could What You Don't Know Hurt You? Information Asymmetry in Land Markets in Late Antiquity
P.V. (Meylekh) Viswanath and Michael Szenberg

III. Jewish Law, Ethics, and the Modern Society
10. Hetter Iska, the Permissible Venture: A Device to Avoid the
Prohibition Against Interest-Bearing Loans
J. David Bleich
11. Ethical Demands on Creditors in Jewish Tradition
Yoel Domb
12. The Jewish Prohibition of Interest: Themes, Scopes, and
Contemporary Applications
Daniel Z. Feldman
13. Interloping Behavior in the Marketplace in Jewish Law
Howard Jachter
14. Principles of Ethical and Communal Investment in Judaism:
A Jewish Law Approach
Asher Meir
15. The Art of Moral Criticism: Rebuke in the Jewish Tradition and Beyond
Moses L. Pava
16. "Know Before Whom You Stand": Trust, the Marketplace,
and Judaism
Jonas Prager
17. Payment for Organ Donation in Jewish Law
Fred Rosner and Edward Reichman
18. The Theory of "Efficient Breach": A Jewish Law Perspective
Ronald Warburg

IV. Economic Public Policy and Jewish Law
19. Public and Private International Law From the Perspective of Jewish
Michael J. Broyde
20. Jewish Environmental Ethics
Yehuda L. Klein and Jonathan Weiser
21. The Global Recession of 2007: The Moral Factor and
Jewish Law
Aaron Levine
22. The Employee Free Choice Act, Unions, and Unionizing in
Jewish Law
Dani Rapp
23. Rabbinic Responses to Rapid Inflation in Israel, 1973—1985
Daniel Schiffman
24. Jewish Ethics, the State, and Economic Freedom
Meir Tamari

V. Comparative Law Studies Relating to Economic Issues
25. Economic Substance and the Laws of Interest: A Comparison of Jewish and U.S. Federal Tax Law
Adam Chodorow
26. Transfer of Ownership in E-Commerce Transactions from the
Perspective of Jewish Law: In Light of Israeli and American Law
Ron S. Kleinman and Amal Jabareen
27. The Jewish Guarantor and Secular Law: Stumbling Blocks and
Their Removal
Roger Lister

VI. Judaism and Economic History
28. Babylonian Jews at the Intersection of the Iranian Economy and Sasanian law
Yaakov Elman
29. Coins and Money in Jewish Law and Literature: A Basic Introduction and Selective Survey
Laurence J. Rabinovich
30. Economics and Law as Reflected in Hebrew Contracts
Yosef Rivlin
31. Talmudic Monetary Theory: Currency in Rabbinic Halakhah
Lawrence H. Schiffman

VII. The Economics of Judaism
32. The Economic Progress of American Jewry: From Eighteenth-
Century Merchants to Twenty-First-Century Professionals
Barry R. Chiswick
33. How Economics Helped Shape American Judaism
Carmel Ullman Chiswick

List of Abbreviations
Name Index
Subject Index

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