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Interview with the Director of the film ‘Footnote’

January 24th, 2012

Joseph Cedar, the director of the acclaimed movie Footnote, is interviewed in the New York Times. Today, the film received an Oscar nomination in the  category of best foreign language film.  The movie is the 10th Israeli film to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Book Review of Note: Review of Berman, “Created Equal”

January 24th, 2012

JOSHUA BERMAN, CREATED EQUAL: HOW THE BIBLE BROKE WITH ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT is reviewed by Diana Muir Appelbaum in Jewish Ideas Daily: America the Biblical. An excerpt from the review:
What is interesting about these laws is that they carefully describe a social and economic system calculated to produce a broad middle class, which is, as it happens, the only type of system in which it is plausible to claim that all men are created equal. Neither the ancient nor the medieval world paid much attention to these biblical ideas—that all members of a nation should be treated as equals before the law and that society should be organized so as to prevent the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few. Louis XVI had no more use for such an idea than Joseph Stalin or the Han Emperor. Certainly neither Bashir Assad nor Kim Jong-un has the least use for it today. In contrast, the men and women who founded the American colonies and the American republic were profoundly affected by notions of human equality that are essentially biblical in origin.

The Reformatted Soncino Babylonian Talmud English translation is online.

January 24th, 2012

The Reformatted Soncino Babylonian Talmud English translation is online. Download this newly reformatted edition of the Talmud in English free at http://www.halakhah.com/indexrst.html. This edition Contains the Sedarim (orders, or major divisions) and tractates (books) of the Babylonian Talmud, as translated and organized for publication by the Soncino Press in 1935 - 1948. The site has the entire Soncino Talmud edition in the newly reformatted easy to read PDF format.

CFP: The Jewish Law Association, 17th International Conference

January 23rd, 2012

The Jewish Law Association in conjunction with the Yale University Program in Judaic Studies will hold the 17th International conference of the JLA at the Yale University Law School, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A., on July 30-August 2, 2012. The Conference will include a thematic stream on Interaction of Jewish and Other Legal Systems (from ancient to modern times), but presenters may choose any topic and approach to Jewish Law (historical, doctrinal, comparative or philosophical). Papers will be allocated 45-minute slots, to include 15 minutes of discussion. Papers at the Association's conferences are normally published in Jewish Law Association Studies, subject to peer review. Proposals for papers should include the paper's title, a short description of its contents (200 words maximum), and be accompanied by an updated C.V. Please transmit all this material to the conference committee at the following e-mail address: The Jewish Law Association (jla2012conference@gmail.com) no later than January 31st, 2012.

Polemos/Pulmus: Ways of Confrontation in Judaism, Paganism and Christianity in Late Antiquity

January 23rd, 2012

The Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary is offering an exciting summer course titled Polemos/Pulmus: Ways of Confrontation in Judaism, Paganism and Christianity in Late Antiquity which take place July 9-20, 2012. CEUs summer school invites applications from doctoral students, postdocs, junior faculty and researchers from all over the world. The course aims at exploring the nature and various ways of confrontation between and within Early and Rabbinic Judaism, the Early Church, and Pagan religions and schools of thought. The sessions discuss how these movements coped with conflicts within and without; what their strategies were in confronting and accommodating foreign ideas, competing religions, worldly powers or internal subversion; and what role these external and internal confrontations played in shaping them. Course faculty include Daniel Boyarin, Shaye J. D. Cohen, John M. Dillon, Mark Edwards and Guy G. Stroumsa. The application deadline is February 15, 2012. Financial aid is available. More detailed information available at http://www.summer.ceu.hu/polemos-2012.

Stone on Shapiro on Legality

January 23rd, 2012

Martin J. Stone (Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law) has posted Planning Positivism and Planning Natural Law (Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
    This paper, forthcoming in the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, is a comment on Scott Shapiro's book "Legality." I argue that Shapiro's "planning theory of law" is not proprietary to legal positivism. Indeed, there is reason to think that the Planning Theory would thrive best in a natural law context. In the second part of the paper, I comment on a methodological commitment -- one sometimes regarded as quite innocent by practitioners of "analytic" jurisprudence -- which impedes such a natural law possibility from coming into view. The structure of a natural law theory is analyzed here in terms of a logically distinctive form of generality.

CFP: Encounters: An International Journal for the Study of Culture and Society

January 23rd, 2012

An interesting CFP: Encounters: An International Journal for the Study of Culture and Society invites papers that deal with the intersection between Islamic law and society particularly as it pertains to such issues as: the status of women and/or family law, property rights, land tenure, criminal law, finance/economy, and inter-faith relations. Papers from all periods of history and all disciplines are welcome, as are papers that examine the impact of Islamic law in western contexts. The editors are particularly interested in the following questions:
-- How is the law a ‘living law’? To what extent have legal thinkers integrated custom into the lawmaking process?
-- To what extent has the law provided an arena for individuals of different religions to negotiate and/or settle their disputes?
-- What sort of relationship has existed between the various schools of law and have legal thinkers drawn upon schools of law other than their own in formulating laws?
-- To what extent have Western legal systems accommodated Islamic law? What impact has this had on notions of citizenship and minority rights?
-- How have state law/secular law and shari’a overlapped and/or informed one another in the lawmaking process? How has this relationship evolved over time?
Follow the link for more information about the application process.

Upcoming CFP: 2012 meeting of the American Society for Legal History

January 23rd, 2012

The 2012 meeting of the American Society for Legal History will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, November 8-11, 2012. The ASLH invites proposals on any facet or period of legal history, anywhere in the world. In selecting presenters, the Program Committee will give preference to those who did not present at last year’s meeting. Among the people selected to present, limited financial assistance will be available for those in need—with special priority given to graduate students and post-docs, as well as scholars traveling from abroad. See here for CFP and more information