The study of Jewish law has deep roots in Jewish history. With due respect to philosophers and mystics, halakhists assumed a position of millennial dominance in Jewish intellectual culture from the destruction of the Second Temple to the Paris Sanhedrin in 1808. The study of Jewish law did not disappear but became a subsidiary field of the larger project of modern Jewish studies—from the Wissenschaft scholars Zecharias Frankel, I. H. Weiss, and D. Z.
JQR 112.4 is now available, online* and in print.
In this issue:
Building on Bernard Jackson’s influential application of semiotics to the field of biblical law, Daniel Reifman’s essay “Semiotics and the Nature of Rabbinic Legal Discourse” (JQR 110.1) offers a foray into a semiotic approach to the study of rabbinic law, exploring the potential of this approach for legal theory more broadly. He takes as his case casuistic rabbinic law and the very concrete terms and exemplars it addresses.
This year at the Katz Center the fellows have spoken about how little research has been conducted on modern Jewish legal sources from Islamic lands. With this in mind, I’m presenting one such source to show the promise that legal texts have for shedding light on both social and intellectual history.