Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg and the Foundation of Jewish Political Thought

Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg and the Foundation of Jewish Political Thought

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Joseph Isaac Lifshitz
Cambridge University Press, 10/29/2015
EAN 9781107008243, ISBN10: 1107008247

Hardcover, 273 pages, 23.5 x 15.8 x 2.2 cm
Language: English

This book is a scholarly examination of the political thought of Rabbi Meir (Maharam) of Rothenburg, the most important thirteenth century German Rabbi who was associated with the Pietist movement of the period. From the Maharam's responsa on community matters, a coherent political thought emerges that exercised nearly unprecedented influence on European Jewish communities up to the Jewish Emancipation. Rabbi Meir's extremely sophisticated attempt to balance the demands of the community against those of the individual was facilitated by a characteristic three-tiered structure to his political thought: concrete legal rules supported by value-laden legal principles built upon his general religious ideology. Through a systematic analysis of the Maharam's political thought, Isaac Lifshitz offers an original contribution to Jewish studies, political theory, and the study of legal philosophy. By considering the legal and theological underpinnings of one of Medieval Jewry's most influential figures, it also makes a contribution to the history of ideas in the Medieval period.

Part I. Introduction
1. Framing the discussion
overview of the literature
2. Methodology
identifying the relevant texts
3. Methodology
Halakha and Agada - laws, principles, and ideology
4. Overview of the book
Part II. Historical Background
5. R. Meir of Rothenburg and his teachers and students
6. The history of the Jewish people and Jewish communities in Germany and Northern France (1000–1300)
7. The development of Talmudic exegesis in Germany and Northern France (1000–1300)
8. Highlights of R. Meir's biography
9. D. R. Meir's Halakhic approach
10. Political theory in Germany and Northern France (1000–1300)
Part III. Politics as Private Interest
11. Community as partnership
12. The role of custom in monetary laws
13. Beyond partnership
the community as corporation
Part IV. The Sacred Nature of the Political Sphere
14. The common good
15. Majority-rule
16. Agency and representation
17. The theological definition of community
Part V. Conclusion
18. Politics as extra-legal activity
ambiguity in R. Meir's works
19. The theology of unity and despotism.