Religious Legal Systems: Jewish Law|   [Archived Catalog]
2015-2016 School of Law Bulletin (Archived Copy)

LAWS 820 - Religious Legal Systems: Jewish Law|

Credits: 2

The course presents the basic features of the Jewish legal system and a number of points of comparison to American law. The first half of the course will provide an historical and literary conspectus to Jewish Law by examining the eternal question of the appropriate remedies for personal injuries. Specific topics covered include: the Biblical Law of Injury; Biblical Methods of Resolving Disputes (including references to the New Testament); and the Rabbinic Law of Injuries. This will be followed by several class hours devoted to the laws of marriage. The remaining class sessions will examine the process used to reach religious legal decisions from three modern perspectives, including decisions concerning Sex and Family Life. These discussions should help you see how the Jewish legal tradition is being applied in modern times by different groups within the Jewish community. The comparative study of another legal system can be an important part of learning about one's own system. A religious legal system is especially useful for comparative purposes. Its religious roots feed a set of assumptions about the nature of humanity and of the law considerably different from those of a self-consciously secular system like American law. All class materials are in English and it is assumed that students have no special background or familiarity with the materials. Students of all religious, racial, or ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to enroll in this course. The comparative focus of this course puts all students on a level plane at the beginning, with perhaps a minor advantage for those who have studied some philosophy in their undergraduate training.

Prerequisites: None

Note: Satisfies perspective course requirement.

Basis of Grade: Final examination and class participation

Form of Grade: Letter Grade