Torah and Constitution: essays in American Jewish thought
In these essays, one of the most distinguished legal historians of the twentieth century, Milton R. Konvitz, analyzes the connections between the Torah and the American Constitution. For the academic and general reader alike, the pieces provide a synthesis of ideology of each culture's values.
In this work, which spans his entire career as an expert on the justice system, Konvitz combines the best of the Jewish and the liberal tradition. He analyzes topics that are vital to contemporary debate -- how fanaticism and blind religious zeal unanchored to informed historical tradition, lead to chaos. He elaborates on the centrality of law in both America and Judaism: the first bound to the Constitution and the Framers, the second bound to Revelation, expanding to a legal system fashioned and refashioned by human interpretation.
The author analyzes the intercorrelation of the Torah and the American Constitution; the Bill of Rights; the Declaration of Independence; the ideology of Thomas Jefferson; William James, John Dewey, Josiah Royce, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Herman Melville. His essays offer a readable synthesis of the the values and ideas of Judiasm and the values and ideas upon which American democracy was built.
Konvitz has long been considered a preeminent scholar on First Amendment rights, civil rights, and the law in America. These pieces, compiled here for the first time, gain new resonance as part of an ongoing theme -- the accord of American democracy and the Jewish religious tradition. Readers will find new understanding and further be challenged to new insights by this juxtaposition.
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