Grounds for Divorce as Values in Rabbinic Law

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Contemporary family law scholars and practitioners continue to debate the role of morals and values within divorce law. This article turns to early Jewish law to examine three systems of divorce law and the correspondence between grounds for divorce and the family values espoused by these systems. While an ancient, highly gendered system of law may seem an unlikely place to look for inspiration for a modern, liberal society, examining the way the rabbis of the Talmud responded to and improved upon earlier law reveals a strong awareness of the ways in which grounds for divorce reflect the underlying values of the conception of the family. Thus, this study suggests that this ancient system can afford a unique comparative lens for considering and questioning contemporary legal assumptions about the values reflected in modern divorce law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-531
Number of pages22
JournalOxford Journal of Law and Religion
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


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