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The Social Teaching of Rabbinic Judaism: Corporate Israel and the Individual Israelite (repost)

Posted By: interes
The Social Teaching of Rabbinic Judaism: Corporate Israel and the Individual Israelite (repost)

Jacob Neusner, "The Social Teaching of Rabbinic Judaism: Corporate Israel and the Individual Israelite"
English | 2001 | ISBN: 9004121900 | PDF | pages | 14,1 MB

The systematic and orderly presentation of the Halakhah, normative law, of Rabbinic Judaism in its formative age makes its principal statements in response to a program of social reconstruction; it speaks through the details of norms of law about the community, Israel. Rabbinic Halakhah lays out a social philosophy of an coherent and encompassing character.

Part 1: Corporate Israel and the Individual Israelite
In the first part of the project, on Corporate Israel and the Individual Israelite we ask where and how the Halakhah sorts out the relationships of the individual and the community: the realm of responsible action and particular responsibility assigned by the Halakhah to each. Prophecy, from Moses forward, and the Halakhah from the Mishnah onward, concur that the condition of 'all Israel' dictates the standing of each individual within Israel, and further concur that each Israelite bears responsibility for what he or she as a matter of deliberation and intention chooses to do. If individuals were conceived as automatons, always subordinated agencies of the community, or if the community were contemplated as merely the sum total of individual participants, a particular social teaching would hardly demand attention.

But Scripture, continued in the Mishnah, Tosefta, the two Talmuds, and Midrash, insists that Israelites are individual responsible for what they do, and further that corporate Israel on its own, not only as the sum of individual actions, forms a moral entity subject to judgment. So these are the governing questions: How to sort out these intersecting matters, then, the obligations of the community, the responsibilities of individuals? How does the social teaching of Rabbinic Judaism hold together doctrines of individual obligations to Heaven and mutual responsibilities, on the one side, with all Israel¹s commitments and public convictions, on the other?