Academic Year 2012-2013
Shai Wozner is a senior lecturer in Tel Aviv university faculty of law. He studied many years in Hebron Yeshiva in Jerusalem, received his B.A. in Talmud from Bar-Ilan University, and LL.B, LL.M, and LL.D (Cum laude) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was also a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem for more than 10 years.
His research interests include Jewish law and Halakhic jurisprudence, Talmudic and Rabbinical literature, philosophy of law and criminal law.
He is the co-author (with H. Ben-Menahem and N. Hecht) of the three volumes Controversy and Dialogue in the Halakhic Sources (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2002), and his book Legal Thinking in the Lithuanian Yeshivot is going to be published by Magnes Press next year. He wrote about twenty papers on various topics in Talmud, philosophy of law and Jewish Law.
The Public Aspects of the Legal Discourse and its Implications in
The distinction between the public and the private spheres is well established in Jewish legal thought, and expressed mainly by various legal rules which differently regulate the two spheres. The main argument of the research is based on the understanding that the legal discourse itself – i.e. the forum where the rules are created, published and discussed – always takes place in the public sphere. The public aspect of the legal discourse may have significant normative and interpretational consequences. Beside guiding behavior, Jewish law, like other legal systems, has another important aim of shaping the social and cultural narrative of the community, and thus establishing an imagined community of the addresses of the law. This aim may be achieved by two main components by which social messages are transmitted: the very existence of the legal discourse in the public sphere, and obedience to it in public. But when the legal conduct rules refer to the private sphere, the aim of establishing the normative community is achieved mainly by the existence of the rules in the public discourse and not by obeying the rules in privacy. This may create an interesting normative disparity between the commitment to obey the law in the public and in the private spheres, and rise the paradoxical possibility of interpreting conduct rules which refer to the private sphere, as if they were intended only to influence the public sphere by the existence of the discourse, and not to control the behavior of the addressees in privacy.