What Is This Thing Called Law?

The Jewish Legal Tradition and Its Discontents
The Judgment of Solomon Raphael, 1519. Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican.
The Judgment of Solomon Raphael, 1519. Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican.

The headline-making issues facing American Jews and Judaism are all too obvious from the statistics gathered in the latest Pew report: climbing rates of out-marriage, growing numbers of Jews with no interest whatsoever in Judaism, a noticeable distancing from Israel. Only among the religiously observant, it seems, is the continuity of a vibrant Jewish life secured.

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More about: Bible, Common law, Decalogue, Halakhah, Jewish law, Joshua Berman, law code, Mishneh Torah, Shulhan Arukh, Statutory law