Rachel Rafael Neis deposited The Seduction of Law: Rethinking Legal Studies in Jewish Studies in the group Legal history on Humanities Commons 6 months ago
This essay considers the category of “Jewish law” in Jewish studies while inviting scholarly and historiographic assessment of the ways that Judaism’s link to law has come to appear as obvious. Considering that our present concepts of law are invariably linked to a geographically and temporally parochial “mythology of modern law,” the essay sounds a preliminary set of interventions and conversations designed to open critical reflection on these links. First, it considers how halakhah is assimilated as law, which is in turn seen as quintessentially Jewish. Second, it invokes critical assessments of law as a modern European colonial construct. Third, it moves to Hindu law and Islamic law as examples of scholarly fields whose histories are implicated in European colonialism. Fourth, it discusses the construction of Jewish law in Israeli Zionist contexts and in the context of the U.S. law school. It then closes with some suggestions for future directions.