"Presenting a novel approach for the study of law in the Dead Sea scrolls, this book is conveniently divided into concepts and practices, highlighting the discrepancies between the two. A valuable study for anyone interested in Jewish law, legal history, sectarianism and communal life"--
In The Authority of Law in the Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism, Vroom tracks the emergence of legal obligation in early Judaism. He draws from legal theory to develop a means of identifying instances in which ancient interpreters treated a legal text as a source of binding obligation.
Although most people acknowledge that Jesus was a first-century Jew, interpreters of the Gospels often present him as opposed to Jewish law and customs--especially when considering his numerous encounters with the ritually impure. Matthew Thiessen corrects this popular misconception by placing Jesus within the Judaism of his day. Thiessen demonstrates that the Gospel writers depict Jesus opposing ritual impurity itself, not the Jewish ritual purity system or the Jewish law. This fresh interpretation of significant passages from the Gospels shows that throughout his life, Jesus destroys forces of death and impurity while upholding the Jewish law.
A scholar of law and religion uncovers a surprising origin story behind the idea of the separation of powers. The separation of powers is a bedrock of modern constitutionalism, but striking antecedents were developed centuries earlier, by Jewish scholars and rabbis of antiquity. Attending carefully to their seminal works and the historical milieu, David Flatto shows how a foundation of democratic rule was contemplated and justified long before liberal democracy was born. During the formative Second Temple and early rabbinic eras (the fourth century BCE to the third century CE), Jewish thinkers had to confront the nature of legal authority from the standpoint of the disempowered. Jews struggled against the idea that a legal authority stemming from God could reside in the hands of an imperious ruler (even a hypothetical Judaic monarch). Instead scholars and rabbis argued that such authority lay with independent courts and the law itself. Over time, they proposed various permutations of this ideal. Many of these envisioned distinct juridical and political powers, with a supreme law demarcating the respective jurisdictions of each sphere. Flatto explores key Second Temple and rabbinic writings—the Qumran scrolls; the philosophy and history of Philo and Josephus; the Mishnah, Tosefta, Midrash, and Talmud—to uncover these transformative notions of governance. The Crown and the Courts argues that by proclaiming the supremacy of law in the absence of power, postbiblical thinkers emphasized the centrality of law in the people’s covenant with God, helping to revitalize Jewish life and establish allegiance to legal order. These scholars proved not only creative but also prescient. Their profound ideas about the autonomy of law reverberate to this day.
In this remarkable book, Gabriel Cousens has built a new paradigm based on the ancient wisdom of the Essenes: "We create peace by being peace. One who is at peace brings harmony into every aspect of his/her life". Dr. Cousens reveals that true peace entails developing a sense of harmony within and without.