The Philosophy of the Bible as Foundation of Jewish Culture: Philosophy of Biblical Law

The Philosophy of the Bible as Foundation of Jewish Culture: Philosophy of Biblical Law

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Eliezer Schweid
Translated by Leonard Levin

Series: Reference Library of Jewish Intellectual History
ISBN: 9781934843017 (hardcover) / 9781934843529 (paper)
Pages: 216 pp. 
Publication Date: January 2009

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Eliezer Schweid is professor emeritus of Jewish thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published forty books in general and specific areas of Jewish thought of all periods, and has commented frequently on the relevance of the legacy of Jewish thought to contemporary issues of Jewish and universal human concern. He is the recipient of the distinguished Israel Prize and two honorary doctorates.

Leonard Levin teaches Jewish philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York.

Table of Contents

A Fresh Reading — Freeing Ourselves of Old Stereotypes
The Complementarity of Law and Narrative

Chapter 1. The Law of the Kingdom of God
Exodus from Slavery to Freedom as a Legislative-Political Act: The Process
of Formation and Establishment of the Kingdom of God in His People
Institutionalizing the Ideal of “Kingdom of God” in the People
The Return to Slavery, and the Dilemma of the Difference between
the Law of Slavery and the Law of Freedom
The ideational background for realizing the transition:
What is the difference between the law of slavery and the law of freedom? 
The Gradual Descent of the Kingdom of God from the Mythic to the Historical Plane: From Prophecy to Wisdom
The Idea of the Covenant and the Basic Values of the Law of Freedom and Justice
Judicial Justice as Covenantal Principle — Its General Application, and the Concept of Truth
Social Justice as Fulfillment of the Vision of Creation
The Problem of Poverty and the Ethic of Neighborly Love
Statutory Law that Regenerates the Egalitarian Basis of Social Justice
The Structure of the Kingdom of Priests:
The Problem of Authority and Cooperative Functioning of All The Powers of Government
Between Israel and the Nations
Chapter 2. Deuteronomy (the “Second Torah”) — The Beginning of Renewal of the Written Torah as Oral Torah
The Difference between Moses’ and Joshua’s Leadership, and the Perpetuity of Moses’ Leadership in the People
Deuteronomy’s Uniqueness as Embodiment of Moses’ Leadership of the People
The Difference between Moses and Joshua
The Problem of Succession Continued
Deuteronomy as Oral Law
Legislative Innovations in Deuteronomy
The Transition in Deuteronomy from the Plane of Myth to History
When, and By Whom, Was Deuteronomy Written? 
The Transition from the “Scribes” to the “Men of the Great Synagogue” 
Chapter 3. The Partnership of Man and Woman in the Law of Moses and the Prophets
Equality and Inequality of Persons in the Reciprocal Relation of Individuals and the Community
The Reciprocal Relation of Individual and Community
The Hierarchical Relation of Man and Woman
Man’s Acquisition-Ownership of Woman
“Acquisition of Relationship” versus Acquisition of Property
How is the husband’s “acquisition” of his wife expressed?
Woman’s autonomy in the light of the Torah’s legislation
The Difference Between the Wife’s Status vis-à-vis her Husband and Her Status as Mother vis-à-vis her Children
The Myth of Mankind’s Creation as a Couple in God’s Image: Destiny, Sin and Redemption
Chapter 4. Universalism and Particularism —Openness to Foreign Cultures, and Isolation from their Influence