4. Religious and Legal Particularism and Universality

  1. Janice Boddy and
  2. Michael Lambek
  1. Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

Published Online: 17 JAN 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118605936.ch4

A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion

A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion

How to Cite

Sullivan, W. F. (2013) Religious and Legal Particularism and Universality, in A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion (eds J. Boddy and M. Lambek), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118605936.ch4

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 JAN 2014
  2. Published Print: 21 OCT 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470673324

Online ISBN: 9781118605936

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Keywords:

  • religious and legal particularism and universality;
  • jurisgenerativity;
  • Judaism;
  • Orthodox Jewish legal practice. In My Father's Court;
  • Isaac Bashevis Singer;
  • Orthodox Jewish law;
  • secularization;
  • sacralization;
  • Jewish Warsaw

Summary

Assuming that law and religion are present in all human societies and that in all human societies they are deeply intertwined and interdependent, this essay uses Isaac Bashevis Singer's account of his father's rabbinical court in interwar Poland to explore the particularity, universality, and multiply interrelated nature of these two ubiquitous cultural forms. Singer's father's court is at once singularly the product of a distinctive modern iteration of Jewish rabbinic law and Hasidic pietism and a synecdoche for law and religion writ large; Singer's elegiac tales celebrate the specificity of this time and place while offering the cultural coherence and flexibility of the law enacted there as a model for human justice.