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Jacques Gerstenkorn

This article describes the powerplay around the recent discovery (summer 2015) of eighteenth-century Jewish graves in the French city of Lyon. Prior to the French Revolution, Jews had no right to have their own cemeteries, and the corpses of the deceased were buried in the basement of the local catholic hospital, the Hôtel- Dieu. In recent years this centrally located building was completely renovated and converted into a retail complex selling luxury brands. The discovery and subsequent identification of the graves – and of some human remains – led to a complex confrontation between various actors: archaeologists, employed either by the municipality or by the state; religious authorities (mostly Lyons chief rabbi); the municipality itself; the private construction companies involved; direct descendants of some of the Jews buried in the hospital‘s basement; as well as the local media. The question of what to do with the graves took centre stage, and while exhumations were favoured by both archaeologists and the representatives of the families, the chief rabbi – supported by the construction companies – proved reluctant to exhume, for religious reasons. In the first part of his article the author details the origins of this Jewish funerary place and current knowledge about it. He then goes on to analyse what was at stake in the long negotiations, arguing that the memory of the Holocaust played a role in the attitude of many of the parties involved. By way of conclusion he considers the decision not to exhume the graves and elaborates on the reasons why this led to some dissatisfaction.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Christoph Menke in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers
Editor:

This book focuses on the paradoxical character of law and specifically concerns the structural violence of law as the political imposition of normative order onto a "lawless" condition. The paradox of law which grounds and motivates Christoph Menke's intervention is that law is both the opposite of violence and, at the same time, a form of violence. The book develops its engagement with the paradox of law in two stages. The first shows why, and in what precise sense, the law is irreducibly characterized by structural violence. The second explores the possibility of law becoming self-reflectively aware of its own violence and, hence, of the form of a self-critique of law in view of its own violence. The Book's philosophical claims are developed through analyses of works of drama: two classical tragedies in the first part and two modern dramas in the second part. It attempts to illuminate the paradoxical nature of law by way of a philosophical interpretation of literature. There are at least two normative orders within the European ethical horizon that should be called "legal orders" even though they forego the use of coercion and are thus potentially nonviolent. These are international law and Jewish law. Understanding the relationship between law and violence is one of the most urgent challenges a postmodern critical legal theory faces today. Self-reflection, the philosophical concept that plays a key role in the essay, stands opposed to all forms of spontaneity.

Open Access (free)
Daniel Loick

disposal. The second one is Jewish law, developed and practiced over centuries under conditions of the diaspora, thus lacking any state-​based means of enforcement. Both legal orders already informed the agenda laid out by Walter Benjamin’s “Critique of Violence” (1920/​21) which can therefore guide a critical interrogation of Menke’s hidden premises. Benjamin’s notion of deposing the law (Entsetzung des Rechts), I argue, should not be interpreted as a “self-​reflection of law,” as Menke suggests, but rather as the idea of a law without violence. Only if we interpret

in Law and violence
Benjamin J. Elton

discern Hermann Adler’s attitudes to the essential issues of Jewish belief, notably the Torah, Written and Oral, and the authority of Jewish Law (halakhah). We will also look at issues which were of great importance to Hermann Adler as a leader of emancipated Jewry in western Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century: the relationship between Jews and non-Jews and religions other than Judaism, the role of secular learning and modern methods in Jewish learning, and Zionism. Adler was a member of the first generation of rabbis to consider some of these

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
Hayyim Rothman

This chapter begins by situating the development of World War I chronologically and geographically: the nineteenth century in the Russian Pale of Settlement. It is argued that antisemitic persecution disappointed hopes for Jewish integration into European society such that former Enlightenment assimilationists returned to the Jewish fold. This is said to have influenced both the rise of Jewish nationalism and Jewish anarchism, both of which intersected in the Hibbat Zion movement as centered in the Valozyn Yeshiva (seminary). Narodnik influence is discussed at length and used to compare World War I to the Bund on the one hand and to ultra-orthodox isolationism on the other. The theological background of World War I is then examined on five fronts: the idea of man as made in the image of God; the mandate to neighborly love; the legal and moral status of the ancient Hebrew monarchy; the prophetic tradition as a voice of justice; and messianic traditions involving the eventual abrogation of Jewish law.

in No masters but God
Abstract only
The birth and growth of major religions

What do we really know of the origins and first spread of major monotheistic religions, once we strip away the myths and later traditions that developed? Creating God uses modern critical historical scholarship alongside archaeology to describe the times and places which saw the emergence of Mormonism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. What was the social, economic and political world in which they began, and the framework of other contemporary religious movements in which they could flourish? What was their historical background and what was their geographical setting? Written from a secular viewpoint, the author reveals where a scholarly approach to the history of religions may diverge from the assumptions of faith, and shows the value of comparing different movements and different histories in one account. Throughout history, many individuals have believed that they were in direct contact with a divine source, receiving direction to spread a religious message. A few persuaded others and developed a following, and a small minority of such movements grew into full religions. In time, these movements developed, augmented, selected and invented their own narratives of foundation: stories about the founders’ lives and the early stages in which their religious group emerged. Modern critical scholarship helps us understand something of how a successful religion could emerge, thrive and begin the journey to become a world faith. This book presents a narrative to interest, challenge and intrigue readers interested in the beginnings of some of the most powerful ideas that have influenced human history.

A conceptual history 1200–1900

This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.

A typology
Benjamin J. Elton

other elements and merge into the national life’.12 Members of the adaptation school, such as Geiger, spoke about reforming Judaism on the basis of scientific explorations of its origins and development; they were thus among the leading proponents of the scientific study of Judaism, the Wissenschaft des Judentums.13 This approach included the acceptance that the Pentateuch was a human and composite document, and that Jewish Law had changed and could continue to change to meet the demands of the time.14 For example, Geiger argued that the Pharisees had developed the laws

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
Benjamin J. Elton

as traditionalist members of the acknowledgement school because they upheld the traditional account of origin of the Pentateuch. Jacobs, on the other hand, should be understood as a non-traditionalist member of the acknowledgement school, because although he regarded halakhah as binding he disputed the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. Adler and Hertz regarded the division between the traditionalist and nontraditionalists of the acknowledgement school as fundamental: not merely an abstract theological issue of no significance as long as Jewish law was upheld, but

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
Open Access (free)
Portraying the exhumation and reburial of Polish Jewish Holocaust victims in the pages of yizkor books
Gabriel N. Finder

to varying degrees with Jewish customs, which was in all likelihood true in the cases of Frenkel, Mincberg, and Weichselfish. There are several prescriptive and customary practices in Judaism pertaining to burial. Jewish law ordinarily forbids exhumation (except for reburial in Israel) and the transfer of corpses and human remains from one 48   Gabriel N. Finder Figure  2.6  Survivors from Kutno surround the monument unveiled in 1945, during the reburial of ashes from Chełmno, in memory of the town’s Jewish victims; Ephraim Weichselfish is visible in uniform to

in Human remains and identification