Publication Date



Harvard Law Review


Beginning with Professor Robert Cover's Nomos and Narrative, contemporary American legal scholars have increasingly turned, implicitly or more directly, to the Jewish legal tradition as an example of a legal system in which law is defined not by reference to the authority and power of the State, but rather by the commitment of a legal community to voluntarily-accepted legal obligations. These scholars depict the Jewish legal system as having successfully confronted - and resolved - several central dilemmas currently facing American law by maintaining a coherent legal system while accepting behavioral and interpretive pluralism. In this Article, Professor Stone shows how various aspects of the Jewish legal tradition have been woven together to create an alternative model of law. Returning to the Jewish legal sources and system, she maintains that Jewish law's seemingly contemporary attitude is made possible by the specifically religious nature of the legal system and its effect on the relationship between the legal interpreter, the legal actor, and the divine. Professor Stone concludes by arguing that there is no secular theory of justice that could readily serve the same function in the American legal system that the divine plays in the Jewish legal tradition, which permits law to express both utopian ideal and political order.



First Page



Harvard Law School


Comparative and Foreign Law | Jurisprudence | Law | Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility | Legal Profession



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