Reflecting on Hannah Arendt and Eichman in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
35 Adel. L. Rev. 427 2014
Posted: 3 Jul 2016 Last revised: 18 Aug 2016
Date Written: 2014
In this essay, we offer a modem legal reading of Hannah Arendt's classic book, Eichmann in Jerusalem. First we provide a brief account of how Arendt came to write Eichmann in Jerusalem and explain her central arguments and observations. We then consider the contemporary relevance of Arendt's work to us as legal academics engaged with a variety of problems arising from our times. We consider Arendt's writing of Eichmann in Jerusalem as a study in intellectual courage and academic integrity, as an important example of accessible political theory, as challenging the academic to engage in participatory action, and as informing our thinking about judgement when we engage in criminal law reform. Finally, we consider the role of Arendt's moral judgement for those within government today and how it defends and informs judgement of the modem bureaucrat at a time of heightened government secrecy.
Keywords: Hannah Arendt, Eichmann, Legal Theory, Criminal Law, International Law
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