Introduction - People of the Book: Judaism's Influence on American Legal Scholarship

2 Pages Posted: 23 May 2015

Date Written: May 20, 2015


This symposium began in April, 2014, when DePaul’s Center for Jewish Law and Judaic Studies (JLJS) sponsored a major academic conference entitled: People of the Book: Judaism and Constitutional Law. The goal of this conference was to showcase how the Jewish tradition and culture have played a crucial role in shaping the thinking of legal scholars working in areas other than Jewish law as their primary academic fields. For purposes of this volume, however, I included scholars working in disciplines other than constitutional law in order to gain some additional diversity of perspective. The participants in this written symposium include a range of Jewish backgrounds — from those who admit to being barely Jewish to those raised with significant Jewish tradition. Their current practices also range from seemingly secular to strictly Orthodox. Despite these differences, all of the contributors are identified Jews who believe their Jewish background and experience have influenced their legal scholarship significantly. The purpose of this volume is to bring their experience to a wider audience. The essays also reflect a range of perspective, both substantively and stylistically. My vision was to give each author as much free rein as possible in this regard since this volume is such a unique work. Some essays are comparable to traditional law review articles in terms of length and documentation; others are more free form and autobiographical.

Suggested Citation

Kwall, Roberta Rosenthal, Introduction - People of the Book: Judaism's Influence on American Legal Scholarship (May 20, 2015). Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 16, 2015, Available at SSRN:

Roberta Rosenthal Kwall (Contact Author)

DePaul University - College of Law ( email )

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