Abstracts

PUBLIC LAW

Shimon Bakon, "The Biblical Concept of Government", Dor leDor 14 (1985), 16-25; see OTA 9/2 (1986), no.320.

J. Blidstein, "Medieval Public Law - Sources and Concepts" (Heb.), Diné Israel 9 (1978-1980), 127-164. - Since the Talmud does not provide detailed principles of Public Law, the Medieval scholars had to develop a legal basis for the authority of the Jewish community and its leaders on the basis of the few sources available to them. In the course of the article, the author discusses the rights of the individual vis-à-vis the community, the power of the public to override individual rights and the rights of the community not to accept a particular leadership. He analyses the dynamics of the concept of authority in Jewish communal life both in terms of its sources, and the different models for its exercise. He compares the concept of the "Tsibbur" with that of the Jewish court, and explores the question of whether a person absent during a public meeting at which a piece of legislation was promulgated or a ban pronounced, was bound by decisions taken in his absence. (Y.S.K.)

H. Cazelles, "Droit public et droit privé dans l'Israel biblique", in Mélanges à la mémoire de Marcel-Henri Prévost (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1982), 17-22. - The author considers the public law elements in Biblical law, starting with the Noahide obligation to establish a legal system, and considering the public law content of the various biblical codes. (B.S.J.)

Stuart Cohen, The Three Crowns, Structures of Communal Politics in Early Rabbinic Jewry, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp.xii, 294, ISBN 0-521-37290-9, hbk., Price: £32.50. - Professor Cohen here traces the emergence of rabbinic political authority through the first five centuries C.E., together with their articulation (despite its lack of systematic statement in the sources) of a coherent political philosophy. He notes the movement from a concept of separation of powers, represented by the three "crowns" (Torah, Kehunah, Malkhut) to one of rabbinic dominance. The author has a firm command of modern literature, as well as the traditional sources, and is able to use his expertise in political science to good effect, to produce what he describes as "an extended essay in political anthropology". This is particularly reflected in his final chapter, "Patterns of Succession and Pageants of Installation", which deals, inter alia, with semikhah. (B.S.J.)

Jeffrey M. Cohen, "Is It a Mitsvah to do Security duty?", Tradition 24/1 (1988), 50-58. - The author argues on the basis of rabbinic legal rulings that it is indeed incumbent upon Jews to assume the responsibility of providing security for Jewish institutions in these troubled and dangerous times, and furthermore that such a duty exists even in the face of one's own qualms about one's ability to do so (except perhaps in cases of extreme distress). The duty to provide security is also portrayed as an aspect of imitatio dei. (S.M.P.)

Mark R. Cohen, Jewish Self-Government in Medieval Egypt; the Origins of the Office of Head of the Jews, ca. 1065-1126, Princeton: Princeton University Press, l982, ISBN 91-7728-194-2, Pp. l35; see further KS 57 no.372.

Daniel J. Elazar, ed., Kinship and Consent, The Jewish Political Tradition and its Contemporary Uses, Ramat Gan, Philadelphia, London, Montreal: Turtledove Publishing, 1981, ISBN 965-20-0014-X, Pp. xiii, 396, Price: $24.75. - Professor Elazar and his colleagues at the Center for Jewish Community Studies in Jerusalem have been working on the sources and development of the Jewish political tradition. This volume carries papers from a Colloquium held in 1975 under the sponsorship of the Kotlar Institute for Judaism and Contemporary Thought. The study of the Jewish political tradition necessarily involves the study of Jewish public law, and of the values which stand behind it. In this context, the following papers from the volume are of especial interest: "The Covenant as the Basis of the Jewish Political Tradition" (Elazar), "The Rabbinic Understanding of the Covenant" (G. Freeman), "The Transition from Tribal Republic to Monarchy in Ancient Israel and Its Impression on Jewish Political History" (M. Weinfeld), "On Power and Authority: Halachic Stance in the Traditional Community and Its Contemporary Implications" (M. Elon), "Individual and Community in the Middle Ages" (G. Blidstein), "Halakhah as a Ground for Creating a Shared Political Dialogue Among Contemporary Jews" (D. Hartman). This is a pioneering work, which deserves to be widely read. It is now being distributed by The Jerusalem Center (12 Moshe Hess Street, Jerusalem 94185). (B.S.J.)

J.W. Flanagan, "Genealogy and Dynasty in the Early Monarchy of Israel and Judah", Proceedings VIII, A, 23-28. - In the face of fierce competition, upon what basis did the Davidic-Solomonic legitimacy rest? The author investigates possible clues in the genealogical tables, concluding that they indicate at least three views of the rule of monarchic succession. (B.S.J.)

Martin Goodman, State and Society in Roman Galilee, A.D. 132-212, Totowa, N.J.: Rowman & Allanheld, 1983, ISBN 0-86598-089-6, Pp. x, 305, Price: $36.95 (Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies). - This is an important social and economic history of Galilee from the outbreak of the Bar Kochba revolt to the constitutio Antoniniana (which gave Roman citizenship to virtually all free inhabitants of the Roman Empire). The author draws on both classical and Jewish sources, and shows a particular interest in questions of legal organisation. A major part of the book is devoted to "Government and Law", with chapters on Rabbinic Authority in Galilee, Local Administration in Galilee, Roman Administration, and Conflicts of Jurisdiction. After the period of the revolt and its immediate aftermath, Roman administration - as elsewhere in the Empire - became relatively relaxed, with little interference in everyday matters of law. But Rabbinic authority only gradually developed within the period under study. Galilee had its own local courts, and acceptance of Rabbinic authority was conceded only at the price of relaxation by the Rabbis of some of the laws which bore particularly harshly upon farmers. This is an important study, one which, in both conception and style, belies its origins in a doctoral thesis. (B.S.J.)

B. Halpern, The Constitution of the Monarchy in Israel, Chico CA: Scholars Press, l981, Pp. xxviii, 410, Price: $18.00 (Harvard Semitic Monographs, 25); see BL 1983, p.86.

Walter Jacob, "The Right to Create a New Congregation", JRJ 32 (Spring l985), 59-6l. - A Responsum. The author holds that in a large Jewish Community nothing should stand in the way of attempting to establish a new congregation if that seems desirable to some members of the community. Tradition favours the establishment of synagogues that satisfy the needs of the worshippers. (S.M.P.)

H. Jagersma, "The tithes in the Old Testament", OS 21 (1981), 116-28. - Tithes are first attested in the ancient near east about 2000 B.C. It is not possible to ascertain whether, either in the ancient near east or in the Old Testament, they originated from the temple or the royal state economy. Prior to the exile they were taken to the local sanctuary - often a royal sanctuary - but after the centralization of the cult they had to be brought to Jerusalem. In pre-exilic times tithes were thought of as related to a sacrificial meal, but afterwards they became obligatory taxes. The collection of tithes sharpened the contrast between town and country, causing poverty and destitution among the rural populations, whereas it brought privilege to those in close proximity to the king and the priesthood in Jerusalem. (J.D.)

Daniela Piattelli, "Riferimenti ed editti di sovrani achemenidi nella letteratura ebraica", in Atti del secondo convegno tenuto a Idice Bologna, nei giorni 4 e 5 novembre 1981, ed. F. Parente and D. Piattelli (Rome: Carucci, 1983), 89-94 (Associazione Italiana per lo studio del Giudaismo, Testi e Studi, I). - The author assesses the references to, and sometimes texts of, Achaemenid edicts in Jewish literature, including that mentioned in Esther 8:9 (especially as supplemented in the versions of the Septuagint and Jerome), Daniel 6:8, Judith 3:8, Josephus, and Ant. 12:142. The edict to which Esther, Daniel and Judith all refer is that of Antiochus Epiphanes, the monarch who, more even than other oriental sovereigns, claimed the respect owed to a god. (B.S.J.)

H. Reviv, "Jabesh-Gilead in I Samuel XI 1-4 - Features of the Israelite City in the Pre-Monarchic Period", Zion 43 (1978), xxix, 181-184 (Heb.). - The process of urbanization in Ancient Israel is tied to the rise of a juridical and political entity guided by decidedly local interests and of institutions capable of executing the decisions of the city, as well as the slackening of the tribal framework. (B.S.J.)

Ze'ev Safrai, "The Administrative Structure of Judea in the Roman and Byzantine Period", Immanuel l3 (l981), 30-38. - The author attempts to follow the administrative changes in the region of Judea and Idumea from the end of the Second Temple period until the Arab conquest. He assumes that all of Palestine was divided into administrative blocs, whose boundaries also reflected economic realities. The boundaries remained unchanged during the period considered, although the status of the district might have shifted, a new capital established, etc. (S.M.P.)

C. Saulnier, "Lois romaines sur les juifs selon Flavius Josèphe", RB 88 (1981), 161-198. - On the basis of Josephus' Antiquities 14.190-264, 306-323 and 16.160-172, the author provides a detailed examination of the Roman laws pertaining to the Jews. He concludes that Rome, in seeking to secure the political fidelity of Palestine, conferred on the Jewish communities of the empire religious privileges which in their own way consecrated the vitality of Judaism in the Diaspora. (J.D.)

B.E. Thiering, "Mebaqqer and Episkopos in the Light of the Temple Scroll", JBL 100 (1981), 59-74. - T. discusses the Temple Scroll and the development of the levitical class at Qumran. He argues that the mebaqqer or levitical priest at Qumran was an inferior minister who acted as priest to the laity in order to preserve the ruling authority and separateness of the senior priests, the sons of Aaron. In many of the essene settlements away from Qumran this minister acted as overseer for the laity, all new members came through him, and he was the first step in the judicial procedure. He also argues that the early Christian community adopted the office of bishop from the Essene lay communities. (K.W.W.)

Y. Zakovitch, "The Purpose of Narratives in Scripture Concerning Purchase of Possessions" (Heb.), BM 23 (1978), 17-21, 117. - As seen by rabbinic exegesis, the original purpose of the stories of Abraham's purchase of the Cave of Machpelah, Joseph's purchase of Shechem, David's purchase of the threshing-floor of Araunah and Omri's purchase of Samaria is to stress the Israelites'/Judaeans' full title to their lands. This is achieved by demonstrating that the four cities which served as capitals of Israel and Judah were acquired in keeping with full legal procedure, with full consent of the earlier inhabitants, at the agreed price and before witnesses. (B.S.J.)

Moshe Zemer, "Demolishing Homes in the West Bank and the Halacha", Journal of Reform Judaism 33/2 (1986), 59-61. - The author argues on the basis of halakhic considerations that the destruction of Arab homes on the West Bank was improper. He makes three points: individual responsibility precludes collective punishment; the Arab is a ger toshab; a ger toshab must receive fair judicial treatment. (S.M.P.)

 

 

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