Abstracts

MARRIAGE

Norman E. Frimer and Dov I. Frimer, "Reform Marriages in Contemporary Halakhic Responsa", Tradition 21/3 (l984), 7-39. - The authors identify three positions on Reform Jewish marriages which traditionalist authorities have asserted. First is the position which renders Reform Marriages invalid ab initio and thus necessitates no need for Jewish divorce proceedings. Second is the position that does admit a measure of halakhic validity to Reform Marriages. Third is the position which would seek to determine the validity of the marriages on a case by case basis. (S.M.P.)

Walter Jacob, "Virginity and the Ketuba", Journal of Reform Judaism 33/2 (1986), 79-82. - In a reform responsum the author concludes that one may refrain from specifying any designation for the bride in the ketubah. The author cites halakhic precedent for this view. He also suggests that the term "virgin" may be used as a "standard formula" in the same spirit that is used for standardizing other types of formulas in the document. (S.M.P.)

Ingo Müller, Hitler's Justice, The Courts of the Third Reich, trld. D.L. Schneider, with an Introduction by G. Vagts, London: I.B. Tauris, ISBN 1-85043-294-5, Pp. xviii, 349, Price: £29.55. - A book such as this would not normally figure in the Survey of Recent Literature of The Jewish Law Annual, but the appearance of this work in English deserves to be brought to the notice of readers of the Annual. The book chronicles the distortion of law under the Third Reich, and its aftermath in the denazification programme. Though not concerned primarily with the legal basis of the Holocaust, it deals at some length with intermarriage between Jews and gentiles, and the notion of "civil death" as applied to Jews. (B.S.J.)

Moshe Zemer, "An Halachic and Historical Critique of 'Responsa on Jewish Marriage'", Journal of Reform Judaism 35/2 (1988), 31-47. - The author argues vigorously against Eugene Mihaly's contention that mixed marriage can be deemed halakhically valid. In addition to the absence of empirical data supporting Mihaly, Zemer contends that the overwhelming majority of liberal authorities, not to mention traditional ones, hold that the marriage of a Jew and an unconverted gentile has no Jewish sanction whatsoever. (S.M.P.)

M. Zipor, "Restrictions on Marriage for Priests (Lev. 21, 7.13-14)", Biblica 68 (1987), 259-267. - It is understandable that a priest may not marry a prostitute or a divorced women since neither can be counted as a woman of irreproachable behaviour. The term 'profaned woman' (halalah) here is obscure. The word means 'profane' rather than 'pierced' (raped) or a woman associated with fertility rites. It is not itself a term parallel to the kinds of woman, prostitute or divorcee. It probably signifies a 'hierodule' (cult prostitute) and so indicates a third category of woman whom a priest may not marry. (R.A.M.)

J. Ziskind, John Selden on Jewish Marriage Law, the Uxor Hebraica, translated with a commentary, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1991, Pp. xii, 537, ISBN 90-04-09237-4. - John Selden's Uxor Hebraica is one of the high points of seventeenth century Christian Hebraism. Published in 1646, it deals with the Jewish law of marriage and divorce, using classical Jewish sources from the Bible to the medieval codifiers and commentators (especially Maimonides), and offering comparative comments from Greek, Roman, Islamic, Germanic and a wide variety of Christian sources. Professor Ziskind has made an immense contribution to the study of this text, and of the wider cultural context to which it belongs, by providing a meticulous annotated translation, with a substantial scholarly introduction, a Bibliography, General index, and Indices of sources cited (from the Bible to Maimonides). It is, in a sense, paradoxical that knowledge of Jewish law amongst Christian intellectuals could reach the level that it did in Selden's work, at a time when Jews were still excluded from England. (B.S.J.)

 

 

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