Abstracts

LAW OF WAR

J. David Bleich, "Preemptive War in Jewish Law", Tradition 21/1 (1983), 3-41. - The author analyses the Jewish law on warfare with regard to the Israeli operations in Lebanon in the summer of l982. He argues that determination of the halakhic propriety of the Israeli incursion into Lebanon is contingent both upon accurate analysis of points of fact as well as resolution of questions of Jewish law. Nevertheless, he contends, it is beyond dispute, as a matter of fact and a matter of halakhah, that once hostilities have commenced Israel must prevail because it can not afford the luxury of military defeat. When the threat of such defeat looms military action assumes the guise of obligatory war "to deliver Israel from the enemy." (S.M.P.)

J. Muffs, "Abraham the Noble Warrior: Patriarchal politics and Laws of War in Ancient Israel", JJS 33:1-2 (1982: Yadin Festschrift), 81-107. - Each element in Gen. 14 has its exact counterpart in the laws of war and the etiquette of booty restoration found in the international treaties of Boghazkoi and Ugarit. While this discovery enhances the authenticity of the text, it does not prove that the text itself comes to us directly from its second millennium forbears. (S.N.R.)

Joseph Polak, "Arms Transfer, The State of Israel, and Halakha", Tradition 24/3 (1989), 67-82. - This paper argues in favour of the dispensation for the manufacture of military hardware by Israel and the sale of it to other nations. Halakhic parameters for the dispensation are specified and a further basis for the dispensation grounded in economic and political considerations is advanced. The author also suggests "halakhic eventualities and circumstances under which the dispensation would break down", and what needs to be done to monitor them. (S.M.P.)

A. Rofé, "The Laws of Warfare in the book of Deuteronomy: Their Origins, Interest and Positivity", JSOT 32 (1985), 23-44. - A comparison of the Deuteronomic laws of warfare with practices which are recorded as obtaining before the monarchy shows that the Deuteronomic. laws are much later and date from the mid-monarchic period. For all that they are now scattered in the law code the war laws were once a unified corpus. They can be traced to three levels of redaction. The first comprised 24:5, 23:10-14, 20:14, 19-29, 21:10-14. This was redacted by Ds (sphetÓm) whose work appears in 20:5-7,1. Two further Deuteronomic additions occur, D2 (20:15-18) and Dp (priest) portraying the role of the priest in battle. These three redactional levels span the period of Josiah's reform. The Deuteronomic laws calling for humanity in war were addressed to the militia, not to professional soldiers. This accounts for their theoretical nature, one element of which was the call not to fear even before large armies. It was this quixotic understanding which led to Josiah's defeat and death. (R.A.M.)

Aaron Soloveichik, "Waging War on Shabbat," Tradition 20/3 (l982), 179-187. The author considers warfare on Shabbat from three perspectives: legitimate war per se; the saving of human life; and the murderous pursuer. He asserts that war can be waged on Shabbat from all three perspectives provided the war is a milhemet mitsvah. (S.M.P.)

 

 

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