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What's Divine about Divine Law?Early Perspectives$
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Christine Hayes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691165196

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691165196.001.0001

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The “Truth” about Torah

The “Truth” about Torah

(p.169) Chapter 5 The “Truth” about Torah
What's Divine about Divine Law?

Christine Hayes

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the rabbinic concept of divine law on the specific question of truth. It examines a wide range of rabbinic texts that shed light on a constellation of questions addressing the divine law's relationship to truth: Is truth in the form of a mind-independent, objective measure associated with the divine law in rabbinic texts, and if so, in what way? Is biblical divine law understood to be identical with or to conform to truth—whether an eternal, unchanging, and universal rational truth as for Philo, or empirically verifiable or divinely revealed ontological reality as for some Qumran writings, or some other standard or conception of truth? Alternatively, is divine law divorced from truth, and if so, does the divorce of truth and divine law undermine the latter's claim to authority and divinity? Finding the answers to these questions is complicated by certain structural dissimilarities between biblical divine law and Greco-Roman conceptions of divine law.

Keywords:   divine law, truth, rabbinic texts, Greco-Roman discourse

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