Section Description Provided by Instructor
SCHOOL OF LAW
Seminar: Topics in Jewish Law Rabbi Saul J. Berman
L 9068 Syllabus
This course shall serve as an introduction to the history and literature of Jewish Law. The dynamic elements of the legal system will be investigated through the study of selected, illustrative topics from their earliest ancient legal roots, through medieval elaboration and codification, to contemporary judicial decisions.
The first few hours will be devoted to a survey of the legal and literary sources of Jewish Law based on the four volume work by Menachem Elon, Jewish Law, J.P.S., Phila., 1994.
No prior study of Jewish Law is required for this course.
The following topics will be explored:
The Right of self defense and the status of pre-emptive war.
Capital Punishment and Torture.
Divorce Law and The Agunah problem.
and Testimony against fellow Jews in non-Jewish courts.
Readings and Sources:
Topic I : The right of self defense and the status of pre-emptive war
J. David Bleich, Preemptive War In Jewish Law, Contemporary Halakhic Problems, vol. 3, KTAV, N.Y., 1989, pp. 251-292.
Michael Walzer, War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition, in Terry Nardlin, ed.,The Ethics of War and Peace, Princeton University Press, 1996, pp. 95-114.
Aviezer Ravitsky, Prohibited Wars in Jewish Religious Law, Meorot on line journal 6:1, Shevat 5767, January 2007, pp. 1-17, at http://www.edah.org/backend/coldfusion/journal_images/Meorot%20Complete%20Version-Jan%202007.pdf
Mishna Sotah 8:4-7
Maimonides, Code, Law of Kings 5:1-5, 6:1-10
Topic II : Capital Punishment and Torture
J. David Bleich, Capital Punishment in The Noachide Code, Contemporary Halakhic Problems, vol. 2, Ktav, N.Y., 1983, pp. 341-367.
Beth Ann Berkowitz, Arguments for Authority: Innovations to Criminal Execution in Rabbinic Law, UMI Dissertation Services, Ann Arbor, MI, 2001, pp. 29-94.
Confronting Evil: Terrorists, Torture, the Military and Halakhah, Dov S. Zakheim
Conversation: Ethics and Warfare, Aryeh Klapper, Benjamin Ish-Shalom and
Michael J. Broyde, Meorot on line journal 6:1, Shevat 5767, January 2007, at
Michael J. Broyde, The Bounds of Wartime Military Conduct in Jewish Law, Center for Jewish Studies, Queens College, CUNY, 2004, pp. 35-42
Sources: Capital Punishment
Mishna Makkot 1:10.
Maimonides, Laws of Sanhedrin 4:1, 14:11.
Maimonides, Laws of Kings 9:14. Maimonides, Laws of Homicide 2:4-5. Derashot HaRan No. 11. Responsa of Rabbenu Asher ben Yechiel Ch. 18. Minchat Chinuch to Mitzvah # 26. Joseph Caro, Bet Yosef to Tur, Choshen Mishpat, Laws of Judges, sec. 2.
Leviticus 19:16. Deuteronomy 21:23; 25:3.
Tosefta Sanhedrin 16:4.
Gemara Sanhedrin 35a.
Gemara Avoda Zarah 18a.
Maimonides, Sefer Hamitzvot, Negative Commandments no. 300.
Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Mamrim 5:12; Chovel UMazik 5:4, 8; RotzeachÃ¢â¬Â¦ 1:7-9; Sanhedrin 12:4; Kings 3:10.
Topic III : Immigration
Genesis, chapters 20, 21, 26,29-31, 34, 39, 40.
Exodus, 22:20, 23:9. Leviticus, 18:26, 19:34, 25:35. Deuteronomy 1:15, 10:17-19, 24:17-18, 27:19.
Topic IV : Divorce Law Ã¢â¬â The Agunah problem
Irving A. Breitowitz, Between Civil and religious Law : The Plight of the Agunah in American Society, Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn., 1994, pp. 41-75.
Aviad HaCohen, The Tears of the Oppressed, KTAV, Jersey City, 2004, pp. 23-44, 93-97.
Michael J. Broyde, The Pursuit of Justice and Jewish Law, second edition, Yashar Books, New York, 207, pp. 167-190.
Sources: Deuteronomy 24:1-4.
Gittin 88b. Mishnah Ketubot 7:7-10. Ketubot 77a. Jerusalem Talmud Ketubot 9:9. Bava Batra 47b-48a. Ketubot 63a-64a. Maimonides, Laws of Marriage (Ishut), chapter 14
Topic V : Testimony Against Fellow Jews in Non-Jewish Courts
Saul J. Berman, Adam Hashub: New Light on the History of Babylonian Amoraic Academies, Dine Israel, Tel Aviv, vol 13-14, 1988, pp. 123-154.
Boaz Cohen, Testimonial Compulsion in Jewish, Roman and Moslem Law, in Jewish and Roman Law, vol.2, JTSA, NY, 1966, pp. 734-755.
Michael J. Broyde, The Pursuit of Justice and Jewish Law, second edition, Yashar Books, New York, 207, pp. 69-76.
Sources: Exodus 21:1. Gittin 88b.
Bava Kamma 113b-114a.
Otzar HaGeonim, Bava Kamma, Responsa sec. 291.
Maimonides, Laws of Sanhedrin 26:7.
Maimonides, Laws of Talmud Torah 6:14 sec. 9.
RaÃ¢â¬â¢avad, Commentary to Bava Kamma113b, at p. 313.
Beit HaBechira (Meiri) , Bava Metziah 83b.
Or Zarua, Bava Kamma sec. 450.
Rabbenu Asher, Bava Kamma Ch.10 sec. 14.
R. Yosef Caro, Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat, 28:2.
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Responsa Iggerot Moshe, Choshen Mishpat I, no. 92.
W 6:20 –8:10 p.m.
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit