'Others-in-Law': Legalism in the Economy of Religious Differences

Law, Culture and the Humanities, Forthcoming

25 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2018

See all articles by Joseph E. David

Joseph E. David

Sapir Academic College - School of Law

Date Written: February 26, 2018


Religious legalism encompasses a wide range of attitudes that assign religious meaning to legal content or to legal compliance. The phenomenology of religious legalism is assuming a significant role in various contemporary debates about legal pluralism, accommodation of religious minorities, religious freedom, and so forth. This article revises this conception and the commonplace equation of Judaism and legalism. It suggests that we ought to regard both as part of the economy of religious differences by which religious identities are expressed and defined as alternatives. The common ascription of religious legalism to Judaism (and Islam) is criticized here through a historical analysis of the law-religion-identity matrix in three cultural settings: late ancient Judeo-Hellenic, medieval Judeo‚ÄďArabic, and post-Reformation Europe.

Keywords: religious legalism, Judaism, Christianity, nomocentrism, reformation, Martin Luther, Maimonides, Mendelssohn, torah-nomos, identity politics, law-gospel, identity

Suggested Citation

David, Joseph E., 'Others-in-Law': Legalism in the Economy of Religious Differences (February 26, 2018). Law, Culture and the Humanities, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3130074

Joseph E. David (Contact Author)

Sapir Academic College - School of Law ( email )


HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sapir.ac.il/content/6407

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