What`s Divine about Divine Law Early Perspectives

The only point where I tried to be convinced was not here, in the late ancient part of the book, but in the early chapters on the classical and biblical understanding of divine law. As mentioned above, Hayes begins by postulating a profound difference between the two, and then invokes this contradictory cultural heritage to explain the various creative steps taken by Hellenistic and Roman Jewish writers on divine law. But it seems to me that Hayes` biblical-classical distinction is undermined by counterexamples on both sides. On the biblical side, as Hayes himself shows, there is a recognizable minority current of Judean thought that identifies Yahweh`s will with a universal moral order (24-41). Meanwhile, of course, there are indications from the Greco-Roman side to reflect on the philosophical problem of the relationship between the good and the will of the gods. As Socrates asks Euthyphro, „Is that which is holy loved by the gods because he is holy, or is he holy because he is loved by the gods?” (Plato, Euthyphro 10a) (Hayes` excellent Chapter 2 does not pursue this idea.) Now, Hayes` claims about the dominant tendency of any tradition are certainly correct: the Judeans based the law on the will of their God, the Greeks on the rational order of things. But if each tradition also recognizes and thinks about the alternative possibility – as each has done – then we do not need and should not attach so much explanatory power to the clash of civilizations caused by Alexander. Of course, the Jews of the late Second Temple and rabbinic times lived in a world of Greeks and Romans, so natural that the context pervaded them always and everywhere. But they didn`t need the Greeks and Romans (and the Greeks and Romans didn`t need the Jews either) to ask Hayes` philosophical question. The first and most important thing to say about What is divine about divine law? It is that it is a remarkable work of intellectual history. The author`s meticulous exegesis from classical, biblical, Second Temple, and rabbinical sources spanning more than a millennium is accompanied by her skilful treatment of the history of legal philosophy. The reader marvels at Hayes` scholarship and learns from her to the end. This is the kind of book that it is probably true that no reader knows all the sources that the author knows.

Hellenists, Romanists, Hebraists, Qumran scholars, New Testament scholars, and rabbis will all find their respective primary texts competently treated by Hayes, and will also discover new revealing parallels in other corpora. In most of his particular interpretations, Hayes succeeds in convincing. Your reading of Philo (111-124, 134-137) is not particularly revolutionary, but very well executed and seems to me fundamentally correct. Your reading of Paul (140-164), on the other hand, is revolutionary, because it contradicts many recent interpretations, and seems to me fundamentally correct. (Hayes argues that Paul`s opposition to pagan circumcision is not based on principled libertinism, but on strict genealogical exclusivism.) Their main concern in the book, the four-part account of the rabbis` appreciation of the Torah`s falsity, irrationality, flexibility, and unnaturalness (166-370), is a tour de force. I expect there will be heated debates, but I find it hard to imagine how this could be reversed. Conflicts often arise between secular conceptions of justice or morality and divine law. [11] [12] „This is an innovative and ambitious study on a topic crucial to Jewish studies in particular and philosophy of law in general. The scholarship is top-notch. Hayes convincingly points out that rabbinic discourse on divine law in Late Antiquity confidently differed from Greco-Roman ideas and much of Jewish pre-literature. – Jonathan Klawans, author of Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism „Christine Hayes confronts one of the most fundamental questions of the nature of law with a rare combination of conceptual depth and meticulous science.

His analysis of the rabbinic understanding of divine law in response to the alternative ideas developed in Greco-Roman culture is a brilliant and fundamental achievement. —Moshe Hellertal, author of Maimonides: Life and Thought In the thousand years before the rise of Islam, two radically different ideas of what it means to say a law is divine clashed with a force that resonates to this day. What is divine about God`s law? unravels the classical and biblical roots of the Western idea of divine law and shows how early adherents of biblical tradition—Hellenistic Jewish writers such as Philo, the Qumran congregation, Paul, and Talmudic rabbis—struggled to understand this contradictory heritage. The Plan of Christine Hayes` Book – What`s Divine About Divine Law? – is simple, comparative in nature. Hayes attempts to compare later ancient Israelite and rabbinic perspectives on „divine” law with those of the ancient Greeks. Hayes attempts to construct nuanced definitions of each community`s definition and understanding of what „divine law” means, tracing the underlying assumptions and beliefs of the Hebrew Bible and the more explicit terms written in Greek philosophical works. It establishes a strikingly opposite understanding of divine law between these two intellectual communities: the Israelite conception of divine law as God`s dynamic and sometimes irrational or inexplicable relationship with human life, constantly changing and adapting to new circumstances; and the Greek idea that divine law must be completely immutable and completely rational and comprehensible in all circumstances. Ultimately, Hayes uses the Hellenistic philosophy of law as a reference, a lens through which the nuances of divine law in Judaism can be better understood. Religious law, like canon law, includes both divine law and additional interpretations, logical extensions and traditions. [5] In Thomas Aquinas` treatise on the law, divine law comes only from Revelation or Scripture, i.e.

biblical law, and is necessary for human salvation. According to Thomas Aquinas, divine law should not be confused with natural law. Divine law is primarily and above all natural law, but it can also be positive law. [ref. needed] According to Chaniotis, divine laws are known for their apparent inflexibility. [6] The introduction of interpretation into God`s law is a controversial issue, as believers attach great importance to the exact observance of the law. [7] Opponents of the application of divine law generally deny that it is purely divine and point to human influences in the law. These opponents characterize these laws as belonging to a certain cultural tradition. Followers of divine law, on the other hand, are sometimes reluctant to adapt rigid divine laws to cultural contexts.

[8] I argue that „sampling” is at the heart of rabbinic hermeneutics. I further argue that anomalous monism—and in particular its arguments about symbolic identity, sampling of which is a species—provides insight into the understanding of the nature of rabbinic hermeneutics and religion, where truth depends on social judgment but is nonetheless objective.