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Jewish Law: Introduction and Topics


This course will provide an overview of the field of Jewish Law and will seek to provide a few case studies of topics in Jewish Law. All the readings are in English and this course presupposes no background in Jewish Law. Jewish Law is the world's oldest complex legal systems with distinct and idiosyncratic approaches to family, commercial, ritual and many other areas of law. It also has developed an elaborate "conflicts of law" sub-literature focusing on when should Jewish Law apply and when should some other legal system apply, reflecting the long history of the Jewish community in the diaspora as a minority. In this course, we will consider how Jewish law approaches a number of specific topics and we will ponder as well the proper interaction between Jewish law and secular legal norms, Jewish Law and changes in technology, Jewish law and sovereignty, Jewish Law and Bioethics and Jewish law and Family. Other topics will be added as we all see fit. Students who are interested in making a presentation on an area of their choice are welcome to do so. The course will seek to include an optional supplementary "field trip" to see a rabbinical court in action in California. The Learning Outcomes provided by this court include the following: Students who take this course will: 1. Exhibit knowledge and understanding of key concepts in substantive law, procedural law, and legal thought in Jewish Law. 2. Demonstrate facility with legal analysis and reasoning in the Jewish Legal tradition and will demonstrate the ability to conduct legal research in Jewish Law. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer, with consent of the instructor, from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement. Elements used in grading: Attendance, Class Participation, Final Paper. Cross-listed with the Law School (LAW 5038).

Course ID: 
222 047
Letter or Credit/No Credit