Academic Content

The degree program will be composed of the following elements:

  • Foundational Courses in Law and Judaism. These will be selected from a broad menu of courses offered as part of the normal curriculum at both NYU School of Law and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Science. The specific choices will be determined by the student and his/her advisor on the basis of their background and experience in both disciplines.
  • Three obligatory Core Courses.  All M.S.L. students will be required to take three Core courses in Law & Jewish Civilization that will illustrate potential connections between the two disciplines.  The first Core course, entitled “Law in Jewish Civilization, Law and Jewish Civilization, Jewish Law and Legal Civilization,” will develop a sensibility to legal theory and philosophical investigations of Jewish Law. The Second Core course, entitled “’The Responsum’—An Anatomy of the Legal Decision in Jewish law,” will focus on legal process and legal realism in exploring Jewish Responsa.  The third Core course will introduce students to the sensibility of historical investigation.  For this course students will choose one of the following three options currently being offered in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies:
      • Readings in the Babylonian Talmud
      • History of Judaism in Late Antiquity
      • Modern Jewish Thought
    • Specialized Courses.  These may be selected from a menu of courses designed specifically for the Master’s in Law & Jewish Civilization. In 2010 these will include:
      1. Religion, Law, and Morality
      2. Messianic Torah: Hypernomianism and the Transvaluation of the Law
      3. The Halakhic System and Responsa Literature: Interpretation, History &Values
      4. The Image of God in Jewish Law and Philosophy
      5. Jewish Law and American Legal Theory
      6. The “Marginals” in Jewish Law: The Ill, the Insane, the Criminal and Others
      7. From Imperial Law to Law’s Empire: Transformative Phases in Early Jewish Jurisprudence
      8. Justice and Injustice in Biblical Narrative

Master Thesis. The thesis should be on a topic which combines law and Jewish civilization and corresponds to the interest and experience of the student.