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Rabbinic Legal Loopholes : Formalism, Equity and Subjectivity

Author: Elana Stein
Publisher: [New York, N.Y.?] : [publisher not identified], 2014.
Dissertation: Ph. D. Columbia University 2014
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : English
Summary:
Rabbinic law is particularly well known for its use of legal dodges and technical circumventions. This dissertation focuses on three main questions about such loopholes: 1) Why is rabbinic law so replete with them? 2) Are they always permitted, and if not, what are the parameters of their use? 3) What does the use of legal loopholes reveal about rabbinic views of the relationship between intention and action? We  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Academic theses
Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Elana Stein
OCLC Number: 1004790820
Notes: Department: Religion.
Thesis advisor: David Weiss Halivni.
Description: 1 online resource
Responsibility: Elana Stein.

Abstract:

Rabbinic law is particularly well known for its use of legal dodges and technical circumventions. This dissertation focuses on three main questions about such loopholes: 1) Why is rabbinic law so replete with them? 2) Are they always permitted, and if not, what are the parameters of their use? 3) What does the use of legal loopholes reveal about rabbinic views of the relationship between intention and action? We attempt to answer these questions by analyzing a particular subset of rabbinic legal loopholes known as ha`arama (cunning). Tracing the history and use of ha`arama from tannaitic to amoraic sources, this work places rabbinic legal loopholes in context of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern worldviews, Greco-Roman perspectives, and later contemporaneous Zoroastrian approaches. Working with both tannaitic and amoraic materials, with Palestinian and Babylonian sources, we observe a progression within rabbinic thinking on this front: from rigid legal formalism to a concern for the inner spirit of the law, and from emphasis on the inner spirit of the law to an interest in the inner spirit of the individual legal agent.

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