Two Concepts of Gezerat Ha-Katuv A Chapter in Maimonides’ Legal and Halakhic Thought

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Gezerat ha-katuv (‘‘Scriptural decree’’) is a key concept in the halakhic tradition. This is so, not because its occurrence in halakhic literature is particularly widespread – its appearance in talmudic literature and in Maimonidean writings is in fact relatively limited – but because of the theological and halakhic significance associated with it. Indeed, gezerat ha-katuv constitutes a kind of crux, at which basic philosophical and jurisprudential concepts and issues encounter one another. Hence, examination of its meaning and purpose may well reveal the underlying patterns of theological thinking and legal philosophy underlying the halakha. Moreover, the changes in meaning of this term in halakhic works during various periods may be indicative of the changes which took place in the deep structures of halakhic discourse throughout the generations. The central goal of the present study is to analyze the meaning and manner of functioning of the term gezerat ha-katuv in Maimonides’s Mishneh Torah. The discussion of its occurrences in the Code will be presented against the background of its meaning and purpose in talmudic literature, on the one hand, and in light of the manner in which it was understood both by Maimonides’s commentators and by other halakhists, on the other The phrase gezerat ha-katuv appears nine times in Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah. In part 1 we have already discussed its appearance in Hilkhot Ishut (Laws of Marriage) 25.2. In paert 2 I shall discuss five additional appearances: Hilkhot Mamrim 6.7, 7.11; Hilkhot Sanhedrin 18.6; and Hilkhot Edut 13.15, 18.3. 1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161*-123*
Number of pages39
Journalדיני ישראל
StatePublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

המאמר מופיע בשני חלקים. חלקו השני של המאמר כולל תת כותר: The Jurisprudendial Sense חלקו השלישי של המאמר מופיע בגליון 31 (2017), עמ' *159-*210

IHP Publications

  • ihp
  • Jewish law -- History
  • Law -- Philosophy
  • Philosophy, Medieval


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