TITLE

DECREE OF KING (GEZERAT MELEKH) AND DECREE OF SCRIPTURE (GEZERAT HA-KATUV) IN TALMUDIC LITERATURE

AUTHOR(S)
Lorberboim, Yair
PUB. DATE
October 2013
SOURCE
Tarbiz;oct-dec2013, Vol. 82 Issue 1, p5
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Gezerat Melekh ('decree of king') and Gezerat ha-Katuv ('decree of scripture') are key terms in the halakhic tradition. This is so because of the theological and meta-halakhic significance associated with them. Gezerat Melekh!ha-Katuv constitutes a kind of crux, where basic philosophical and jurisprudential concepts and issues meet. Hence, examination of its meaning and purpose may well reveal patterns of theological thinking and legalphilosophy underlying the halakhah. The central goal of the present article is to analyze the meaning and manner of functioning of the terms Gezerat Melekh and Gezerat ha-Katuv in Talmudic literature. Underlying the interpretation is a distinction between two basic senses of Gezerat Melekh/ha-Katuv: the theological sense and the jurisprudential-halakhic sense. In its theological sense, Gezerat Melekh/ha-Katuv indicates a mitzvah or halakhah for which there is no rationale or whose rationale is unknown. The jurisprudential-halakhic meaning of the term is rooted in the basic lexical or philological meaning of the term, i.e., the commanding and coercive power of God the lawgiver (Melekh) or 'Scripture' (ha-Katuv). Typically, in the jurisprudential sense, Gezerat Melekh/ha-Katuv does have a reason. The characterization of a given commandment (or halakhah) as Gezerat Melekh/ha-Katuv in this sense is concerned with stating that the mitzvah is imperative; it is rooted in His authority and power to impose obligations and prohibitions. A secondary jurisprudential sense of Gezerat Melekh!ha-Katuv, which is derived from some aspects of political-jurisprudential authority and its manner of operation, is a version of legal formalism involving the demand for a 'mechanical '-literal reading of the language of Scripture, as against interpretation based upon the rationale of the commandment or halakhah and its purpose and/or context. In the article I analyze most of the appearances of Gezerat Melekh!ha-Katuv in Talmudic literature and show that almost all of them hold this secondary jurisprudential sense.
ACCESSION #
65339806

 

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