Abstracts

COLLECTION OF ESSAYS

J. David Bleich, Contemporary Halakhic Problems, Volume III, New York: Ktav Publishing House Inc., 1989, Pp.xv, 415, ISBN 0-8706-8450-7. - This is the third volume in a series in which Professor Bleich represents and develops many of his contributions to the Journal Tradition. Here, he provides a series of extended essays, including ones on artificial heart implantation, animal experimentation, vegetarianism, preemptive war, land, peace and divine command, and "the device of the "Sages of Spain" as a solution to the problem of the modern day Agunah." A section of shorter essays, grouped under the headings: societal issues, travellers, kashrut, communal issues, and women, include pieces on nuclear warfare, the patrilineal principle, and women's minyanim. (B.S.J.)

I. Israeli, N. Lamm and Y. Raphael, eds., Sefer yovel likhvod morenu haga'on Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, Jerusalem: Mosad Harav Kook and New York: Yeshiva University, l984, 2 vols.; see KS 60/1-2 no. 470.

E. Nielsen, Law, History and Tradition, Selected Essays, Kbenhaven: G.E.C. Gads Forlag, l983, Pp.178; see KS 59/4 no. 5616.

M. Silberg, Ba'in ke'ehad; asufat devarim shebehagot uvehalakhah, Jerusalem: Magnes Press, l982, Pp. ii, 430; see KS 57/2 no. 1738.

Zorach Warhaftig, Studies in Jewish Law (Heb.), Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University, 1985, ISBN 965-226-054-1, Pp.296. - This is a collection of mainly previously published essays on central topics of Jewish law: the witness oath, arbitration, precedent, aspects of contract, family law (support of children, community of goods between spouses, coercion of get), the bases of tortious liability, and the plea of ignorance of the law in criminal cases (dine nefashot). (B.S.J.

J. David Bleich, Contemporary Halakhic Problems, New York: Ktav Publishing House Inc. and Yeshiva University Press, 1983, ISBN 0-87068-451-5, Pp. xvii, 423, Price: $20.00 (The Library of Jewish Law and Ethics, X). - This volume is a sequel to that noted in Survey no. 162 (JLA II). Part I reviews various issues which have been debated in contemporary halakhic literature; it includes chapters on Medical Questions; Marriage, Divorce and Personal Status; Business and Commerce. Part II carries lengthier analyses of specific issues, including Settlement in Judea and Samaria, the Entebbe rescue, Mental Incompetence, Capital Punishment in the Noachide Code, and Hetter Iska. The author's approach will be familiar to readers of the Jewish Law Annual. (B.S.J.)

D. Daube, Ancient Jewish Law. Three Inaugural Lectures, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1981, ISBN 90 04 06531 8, Pp. xii 129, Price: Gld. 48. - The three extended lectures which comprise this book were delivered to inaugurate the Norman and Sadie Lee Program in Jewish and Western Civilisation at the University of Judaism at Los Angeles. They comprise: (1) "Conversion to Judaism and Christianity." In the pre-exilic period, conversion to Judaism was far more easy for a woman than for a man. For a woman, a marriage in itself brought her within the community of her husband. Conversely, through divorce she reverted to her original community. The cases of Ruth and Orphah provide examples. With the exile, baptism was introduced, first for women only, and then also for men. A difference developed between Judaism and Christianity as to the need for circumcision; the position of Joshua ben Hanani is highlighted. The connection of baptism with the idea of re-birth is explored in relation to both talmudic and New Testament sources. The last section of this essay traces the complicated history of the rule regarding the status of the child of a Jewess and a Gentile. The early sources assume such a child to be a Gentile. The first movement towards the later rule (that the child is Jewish) is found in the view of Simeon of Teman, in the second century A.D., for whom the child was Jewish, though a mamzer. Acceptance of such a child as a full Jew is not earlier than the 4th century. An Excursus considers the relationship of the Book of Ruth to the Book of Esther. (2) "Error and Ignorance as Excuses in Crime." Comparison is made between biblical and other ancient sources on the effect of a mistake in criminal contexts. Whereas Mal. 14 and Sophocles, Antigone (448f.) imply exemption, biblical sources such as Judges 14 (Samson's beenu marriage), Gen. 20 and I Sam. 14 suggest a more severe attitude. In some sources, a distinction is found between inadequacy of information and inadequacy of understanding. (3) "The Form is the Message." The author here considers aspects of the history of legislative forms, from the biblical apodictic to the participial form of tannaitic literature (in which even a decree of the High Priest John Hyrcanus is transmitted in the Talmud). The forms reflect different views of the role of revelation: the bible presents such legislation as direct commands of god; for the Rabbis, their sudsidiary legislation fulfils an already revealed divine will. It is in this context that the forms of the Sermon on the Mount are to be considered: the "antitheses of the sermon ... stand in between, representing a fresh impulse on the one hand, a faithful acceptance of the traditional framework on the other." The essays also considers the "diagnosis" form and the talmudic "le'olam " ("the Stoic Ever"). These studies build upon both published and unpublished earlier work of the author, which he lists in the Preface. (D.P.)

M. Humbert, ed., Mélanges à la mémoire de Marcel-Henri Prévost, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1982, ISBN 2 13 037872 2, Pp. viii, 329, Price: F.130 (Publications de l'Université de Lille - Droit et Santé). - This memorial volume to a distinguished French scholar is sub-titled Droit biblique - Interpretation rabbinique - Communauté et Société"", and is divided into three sections on these themes. The first part carries articles by Prévost, Cazelles, J.-Ph. Levy, Jackson, Cardascia, and Rabello; the second, by Piattelli, Dupuy, Yaron, M. Cohen, Kirschenbaum, Falk, B. Lifshitz, Englard, Passamaneck; the third, by Nikiprowetsky, R. Delmaire, Platelle, Humbert, and D. and J.-M. Delmaire. Many of the articles are noted individually in this Survey. (B.S.J.)

Nahum Rakover, ed., Jewish Law and Current Legal Problems, Jerusalem: The Library of Jewish Law, 1984, Pp. 253, Price: $25.00. - This volume carries the Proceedings of the First International Seminar on The Sources of Contemporary Law: The Bible and Talmud and Their Contribution to Modern Legal Systems, held in Jerusalem in August, 1983. Both the conference and the publication programme of which this volume forms part reflects the impetus given to the study of Jewish Law in the wake of the Foundations of Law Act, 1980 (see Rakover, JLA V (1985), 80-84). The contents are: Haim H. Cohn, "The Lesson of Jewish Law for Legal Change" (15-28); Meyer S. Feldblum, "The Emergence of the Halakhic Legal System" (29-36); Norman Solomon, "Extensive and Restrictive Interpretation" (37-54); Yedidya Cohen, "The Kibbutz as a Legal Entity" (55-65); Reuben Ahroni, "The Levirate and Human Rights" (67-76); Haim Shine, "Compromise" (77-84); Emanuel Rackman, "The Church Fathers and Hebrew Political Thought" (85-95); John Wade, "The Influence of Religion upon Law" (97-107); Bernard Meislin, "The Ten Commandments in American Law" (109-120); Ya'akov Bazak, "Maimonides' Views on Crime and Punishment" (121-126); Yehuda Gershuni, "Extradition" (127-136); Nahum Rakover, "Coercion in Conjugal Relations" (137-159); Isaac Braz, "The Privilege against Self-Incrimination in Anglo-American Law, the Influence of Jewish Law" (161-168); Arnold Enker, "Self-Incrimination" (169-175); Malvina Halberstam, "The Rationale for excluding Incriminating Statements, U.S. Law Compared to Ancient Jewish Law" (177-190); Stanley Levin, "Due Process in Rabbinical and Israeli Law, Abuse and Subversion" (191-194); David A. Frenkel, "Transplants" (195-201); Moshe Drori, "Artificial Insemination, Is It Adultery?" (203-216); Hershel Schachter, "Medical Malpractice" (217-223); Yitzchak Shapira, "Euthanasia" (225-231); Netanel Roberg, "Therapeutic Abortion" (223-241). An appendix carries the full conference programme. (B.S.J.)

Isadore Twersky, Studies in Jewish Law and Philosophy, New York: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1982, ISBN 0-87068-335-7, Pp. xvi, 226 + 75, Price: $29.50. - This volume provides a photomechanical reproduction, thus without updating, of 19 articles and book reviews, seven of them in Hebrew. A major part of them concern Maimonides' Mishneh Torah. Of particular interest are "The Mishneh Torah of Maimonides" (Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities V/10 (1976), 265-296) and (in Hebrew) "The Structure of Mishneh Torah: Juridical and Philosophical Guidelines" (See Survey no.445, JLA IV); as the author notes, he has since treated some of the themes of these articles more fully in his Introduction to the Code of Maimonides (Survey no. 458, JLA IV). There are also essays on the Shulhan Arukh and a review essay of Urbach's Ba'ale Hatosafot. A common theme is the complex dialectic between what the author calls "halakic Creativity and meta-halakhic concerns (e.g. philosophy, mysticism, pietism, or at a later period, hasidism, mussar)". (B.S.J.)

 


 

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