Jesus and the Mosaic Law: Agapic Love as the Foundation and Objective of Law

37 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2020

See all articles by Robert F. Cochran

Robert F. Cochran

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law

Date Written: 2020


Sam Levine gave me a particular insight—one that is central to this conference—that has helped in my work on Christianity and law. Sam suggested that American Law might view Jewish Law in the way comparative law scholars view the law of other countries or the way a state judge might view the law of another state. Not imposing religious law on those who do not share the Jewish faith but drawing in its insights where they might fit. As I will note later in this essay, that is the way I have come to believe Jesus looked at the Mosaic Law and its implications for positive law. It may give us insight as to what our law should be. I have also come to view Christian insights into law this way. Secular law should use them when they are helpful. Chaim Saiman of Villanova Law School pushed me to think about what Jesus said about the law and how that might relate to our understanding of law today. I have concluded that much of what Jesus said about the Mosaic Law gives us insight into what Jesus might say about any type of law. In my view, the Gospels—the stories of Jesus’s life—present Jesus as having a new take on law that extends beyond his comments about the Mosaic Law, beyond Christianity, to insights on law for all of humanity. In this essay, I consider what rabbi Jesus might have to say about law.

Keywords: Jesus, Christ, Christianity, Mosaic Law, Agapic Love, Jewish law, positive law, secular law, Gospels

Suggested Citation

Cochran, Robert F., Jesus and the Mosaic Law: Agapic Love as the Foundation and Objective of Law (2020). Touro Law Review, Vol. 36, No. 1, 2020, Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020/23, Available at SSRN:

Robert F. Cochran (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law ( email )

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