Civic Freedom out of the Sources of Judaism: Mendelssohn, Maimonides, and Law's Promise Journal Article uri icon



  • ABSTRACT; This conversation brings together contributors from the fields of Jewish and Christian thought to explore ways of understanding law as a blessing rather than a burden—as an expression of a community's own commitments, for instance, rather than a coercive imposition by an external authority. I recover a legal theory that addresses such concerns, focusing on a neglected text by a figure who is frequently cited yet too little understood: Moses Mendelssohn. Exploring a little-known essay on Jewish property law, I argue that Mendelssohn emphasizes the role of human communities in authorizing divine norms and the role of such norms in promoting freedom, and I suggest that his position continues to possess relevance for twenty-first century readers. Covertly appropriating Maimonides, Mendelssohn casts Jewish law as capable of producing a certain type of civic subject—as a communally authorized means of forming adherents into individuals who contribute to the preservation of freedom.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • February 12, 2017 11:44 AM

Full Author List

  • Sacks E

author count

  • 1

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2334-1777

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2334-1785

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 86

end page

  • 111


  • 2


  • 1