Jewish Law Antecedents to American Constitutional Thought

54 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2022

See all articles by Shlomo Pill

Shlomo Pill

Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law; Emory University School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2016

Abstract

This Paper explores how the political and legal theories that drove the Framers' drafting and ultimately ratifying the United States Constitution were not merely a reflection of post-Reformation political theory grounded in homiletic rabbinic literature. Rather, constitutional principles, including equality, constitutional government, popular sovereignty, and federalism are substantially present in legalistic Jewish writings as well. In drawing upon major halachic sources, including the Talmud, Mishnah Torah, Arbah Turim, and Shulchan Aruch, as well as responsa literature, this Paper demonstrates that Jewish law decisors have long grappled with and applied these principles in governing local Jewish communal life and national Jewish affairs.

Keywords: Constitutional History, Jewish Law, Constitutionalism, Law and Religion, Comparative Law

Suggested Citation

Pill, Shlomo, Jewish Law Antecedents to American Constitutional Thought (February 1, 2016). Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 85, No. 3, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3975490

Shlomo Pill (Contact Author)

Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law ( email )

3100 Cleburne Street
Houston, TX 77004
United States

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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