JLA European Regional Conference, Vienna - The presence of Jews and Jewish Law in Non-Jewish Law

The JLA 2017 regional conference will be hosted by the Institute for Legal and Constitutional History at the University of Vienna. It will take place in conjunction with the 9th Summer Academy on the History of the Jews in the Holy Roman Empire and its Successor States and two moot courts, one focusing on the Ius Commune and the other on Jewish Law as practised in the early modern period

The thematic focus of the JLA European Regional Conference 2017 will be on the roles, treatment and representation of Jews and Jewish law in non-Jewish legal systems. Contributions relating to one of the four areas outlined below are particularly welcome, though papers relating in other ways to the place of Jews in the legal profession or to inclusion of Jewish Law in non-Jewish legal systems are invited. With a view to promoting wider exchange with scholars and practitioners from countries in which the study of Jewish Law is less developed, proposals on other aspects of Jewish law will also be considered. If you are interested in presenting a full paper or a poster for work in progress, please send an abstract of between 400 and 750 words to Stefan Goltzberg at STEFAN.GOLTZBERG@ULB.AC.BE, to be received no later than 10th January 2017.

Jewish Lawyers and Legal Doctrine: Papers dealing with specific individuals or legal sub-disciplines (civil law, public law, international law or ecclesiastical law, for instance) are particularly welcome. Contributions may reinterpret established connections or probe into under-researched areas such as the prominent role Jewish lawyers played in ecclesiastical public law in countries such as Italy. Papers may also focus on legal doctrine and philosophy (past or present), exploring the influence, direct or indirect, of Jewish Law and lawyers on secular or other religious jurisprudence.

Jewish Lawyers and Legal Reform: Of equal interest is the role of 19th and 20th century legal reformers who had been brought up in the Jewish tradition. Papers exploring the work of Jewish lawyers active as members of representative institutions, parliaments or city councils, are welcome in this context, as are those looking into the role of Jews (in the broadest sense) in trade unions and associations devoted to social reform. Under this broad heading, we also invite papers exploring the role of recent or contemporary Jewish lawyers in developing and/or advocating alternatives or modifications to traditional, confrontational legal processes.

Jews, Jewish Law and Public Ecclesiastical Law: The conference will also address the mechanisms through which non-Jewish law developed to accommodate Jews, as well as the expectations or demands of Jewish Law on secular law in order to consider the latter valid and binding. In this respect the conference intends to focus not so much on the rights which Jews possessed or did not possess as individuals, but on the rights they enjoyed as members of a group – rights which sometimes extended to include a partial accommodation or recognition of Jewish law. Papers may thus touch upon such questions as: whether and to what extent the state paid for rabbis, Jewish army chaplains, Jewish religious instruction, Jewish schools and the upkeep of synagogues and cemeteries (and, in return, exercised a considerable degree of control). This will include asking to what extent the recognition of the Jews under public ecclesiastical law with all the benefits and disadvantages that went and go along with it played a role from the struggle for emancipation in the 19th century to this day. Papers need not be restricted to legal regimes regulating the relationship between the state and religious communities under explicit heading of Public Ecclesiastical Law (Droit public ecclésiastique, Staatskirchenrecht) but may just as well embrace any other public religious law regime, for example in the Ottoman Empire, the Mughal Empire/British Raj or present day India.

Jews and Jewish Law in the Ius Commune: The conference invites papers which address the role of Jews and Jewish Law as part of the Ius Commune. Until the great 18th and 19th century codifications, the Ius Commune (i.e., Roman Civil Law), Canon Law and a host of particular laws provided the normative basis throughout most of continental Europe. The role which Jewish law played as one of the many particular laws in this world of the Ius Commune has remained largely unexplored. The archival legacy of the imperial Aulic Council, one of the two supreme courts of the Holy Roman Empire, is a particularly rich source for the study of this role.

We welcome contributions from practitioners as well as established and emerging academics. In addition to sessions with full papers, we hope to have a range of research workshops for work in progress, and shorter presentations of early stage projects. Those wishing to register for the conference must be current members of the Jewish Law Association; discounted rates for membership are available to students, low or unwaged participants. Depending on funding, it may be possible to offer financial assistance to early career scholars or those without university support who would otherwise find attending the conference financially prohibitive.

Stefan Goltzberg, Brussels

Nechama Hadari, Hebden Bridge,West Yorkshire

Stephan Wendehorst, Gießen/Vienna

Geoge Wilkes, Edinburgh

 Founded in 1978, the Jewish Law Association seeks to promote study and research in Jewish Law. It provides a major interdisciplinary meeting point for scholars and practitioners in both Law and Jewish Studies. Its membership represents diverse religious, philosophical and intellectual perspectives, and is drawn from many nations, from Israel to Argentina, from Canada and the United States to Australia, from Western Europe to South Africa. For further information about the Jewish Law Association please visit its website at: http://www.legaltheory.demon.co.uk/jlas/

17 July 2017 - 19 July 2017