The Evolution of Halakhah as a Democratic Process: A Political Science Perspective

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This book sets out to prove a new perspective on the evolution of halakhah: a "people-centric" narrative. To wit, that it is the community of observant Jews--the People--who, directly or based on their social reality since the Second Temple period through today, drive the refinement, redefinition, change in, and finally, acceptance of halahkhah.


β€œIn this book, David Raab draws upon the social sciences – political science in particular – to offer a new perspective on the evolution of halakhah. He claims that the evolution of halakhah determination and practice is consistent with the characteristics of representative democracy. Hence while the rabbis have the unique authority to establish halakhic rulings, halakhic practice is ultimately in the hands of the people.”
Dr. Simcha Fishbane,
Touro College

Table of Contents


Preface and Acknowledgements

I. Introduction

II. The Democratic Nature of Halakhah-Observant Society

III. Multiple Conflicting Halakhic Truths

IV. Determining the Halakhah

V. The People as the Source of Rabbinic Authority--Halakhic Democracy

VI. The People's Impact on Halakhah

VII. Conclusion



Index of Names and Subjects

Index of Jewish Sources

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