Zadoff on Kwall: A Historians Critique
14 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2013
Date Written: August 19, 2013
The relationship between law and culture is a complex, dynamic, variegated, and multifaceted accord, an entanglement that belies the traditional dynamic of categorical distinction that, many posit, lies at the center of the two amorphous terms. Increasingly over the last decade and a half, scholars, particularly legal scholars, have started to reconsider the complexities of the legal in social and cultural environs, partially as a result of interdisciplinary methods of cultural theory, which have permeated the guarded borders of legal studies. Roberta Kwall’s article titled "The Cultural Analysis Paradigm: Women and Synagogue Ritual as a Case Study" in the December 2012 issue of the Cardozo Law Review follows in this general trend and offers a perspective and road map for identifying the relationship between Jewish law and culture — while weaving through elements of legal theory. Over the coming pages, I seek to offer a number of thoughts concerning Kwall’s methodologies, theoretical constructs, fact structures, and perspectives concerning the utility of a law and culture approach. Ultimately, I propose ways to better refine the methodologies for transformative utility for use in particular historical circumstances.
Keywords: Jewish law, law and culture
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