Christine Hayes shows that for the ancient Greeks, divine law was divine by virtue of its inherent qualities of intrinsic rationality, truth, universality, and immutability, while for the biblical authors, divine law was divine because it was grounded in revelation with no presumption of rationality, conformity to truth, universality, or immutability. Hayes describes the collision of these opposing conceptions in the Hellenistic period, and details competing attempts to resolve the resulting cognitive dissonance. She shows how Second Temple and Hellenistic Jewish writers, from the author of 1 Enoch to Philo of Alexandria, were engaged in a common project of bridging the gulf between classical and biblical notions of divine law, while Paul, in his letters to the early Christian church, sought to widen it. Hayes then delves into the literature of classical rabbinic Judaism to reveal how the talmudic rabbis took a third and scandalous path, insisting on a construction of divine law intentionally at odds with the Greco-Roman and Pauline conceptions that would come to dominate the Christianized West.
A stunning achievement in intellectual history, What's Divine about Divine Law? sheds critical light on an ancient debate that would shape foundational Western thought, and that continues to inform contemporary views about the nature and purpose of law and the nature and authority of Scripture.
About the series
Classic Essays in Jewish History
(Series Editor: Kenneth Stow)
The 6000 year history of the Jewish peoples, their faith and their culture is a subject of enormous importance, not only to the rapidly growing body of students of Jewish studies itself, but also to those working in the fields of Byzantine, eastern Christian, Islamic, Mediterranean and European history. Classic Essays in Jewish History is a library reference collection that makes available the most important articles and research papers on the development of Jewish communities across Europe and the Middle East. By reprinting together in chronologically-themed volumes material from a widespread range of sources, many difficult to access, especially those drawn from sources that may never be digitized, this series constitutes a major new resource for libraries and scholars. The articles are selected not only for their current role in breaking new ground, but also for their place as seminal contributions to the formation of the field, and their utility in providing access to the subject for students and specialists in other fields. A number of articles not previously published in English will be specially translated for this series. Classic Essays in Jewish History provides comprehensive coverage of its subject. Each volume in the series focuses on a particular time-period and is edited by an authority on that field. The collection is planned to consist of 10 thematically ordered volumes, each containing a specially-written introduction to the subject, a bibliographical guide, and an index. All volumes are hardcover and printed on acid-free paper, to suit library needs. Subjects covered include:
The Biblical Period The Second Temple Period
The Development of Jewish Culture in Spain
Jewish Communities in Medieval Central Europe
Jews in Medieval England and France
Jews in Renaissance Europe
Jews in Early Modern Europe
Jews under Medieval Islam
Jews in the Ottoman Empire and North Africa
Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a slave labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith's protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret.
In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells how German officials casually questioned the lineage of her parents; how during childbirth she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal something of her past; and how, after her husband was captured by the Soviets, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street.
Despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document, as well as photographs she took inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this volume, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust—complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.