Joseph Karo and Shaping of Modern Jewish Law

Joseph Karo and Shaping of Modern Jewish Law

The Early Modern Ottoman and Global Settings

By Roni Weinstein

Anthem Intercultural Transfer Studies

The book provides a global perspective on the history of Jewish law during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, focusing on the codification works of R. Joseph Karo. 

Hardback, 250 Pages

ISBN:9781785278761

July 2022

£80.00, $125.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links
  • Podcasts

About This Book

The early modern period witnessed the rise of impressive empires in the Eurasian context, in Europe and not less so in the east – The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires. The construction of large and stable empires necessitated the constructions of unprecedented power mechanisms. History of law and legality in the early modern period was playing a crucial role in these changes.

Born in Spain and joining his family as refugees from the great expulsion from the Iberian peninsula, heading east to the Ottoman Empire, Karo, as the rest of Sephardi intellectuals, was deeply acquainted with both European [Canon law, ius comune] and Ottoman [Shari'a, Kanuname] legal traditions, and their transformative processes during the early modern period.

The codes of law, in the short and long version, composed by R. Karo mark a watershed turn, and they were never superseded until the present. In composing them, Karo intended to respond to the global changes in law, and to update Jewish Halakhah to current political and cultural circumstances. The books suggest both a global reading of Jewish law, and a sociological perspective of Halakhah. It adds a further dimension on modernization of Jewish culture. 

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Author Information

Roni Weinstein teaches at the Hebrew University, Foreign Students Program.

Series

Anthem Intercultural Transfer Studies

Table of Contents

Section 1 – Themes and Settings; Introduction – The General Setting of Karo's Period; Chapter 1 – Codification: What Does It Mean, and Main Global Codification Projects; Section 2 – Karo and the Ottoman Context; Chapter 2 – Codification through Karo's Eyes: Reading His Introductions; Chapter 3 – The Title Maran [Our Master] Conferred Solely Upon R. Karo; Chapter 4 – The Polemics over Rabbinic Ordination [Semichah]; Chapter 5 – Karo the Legal Persona in the City of Safed; Chapter 6 – Law and Mysticism in the Life of Karo; Section 3 – Karo: Legal Expert in Action; Chapter 7 – The Issue of Providing Legal Reasoning for Court Verdicts; Chapter 8 – Karo as Composer of Rabbinic Responsa; Chapter 9 – Constructing an 'international Court of Law'; Section 4 – Summary; Chapter 10 – Summary and Synthesis.

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