Religious Legal Systems: Jewish Law
This course will engage in a close consideration and reading of Pirkei Avot, one of the formative texts of Rabbinic Judaism and a central source for Jewish ethics over the last 2,000 years. In so doing, we will examine it in light of modern ethical and legal contexts, most notably contemporary virtue ethics as well as current theories of legal interpretation. In order to successfully complete the course, students will write either their own commentary on the material, examine it in light of modern legal ethics and notions of professional responsibility, compare and contrast it with their own philosophical and/or religious traditions, or complete some other form of extended essay of approximately 25-30 pages. The grade for the course will come from that paper; students can also receive a one-third increase or decrease (i.e. B to B+ or B-) based upon class participation, which will be awarded based upon the infallible and unreviewable discretion of the instructor. Students must also complete a series of on-line exercises ensuring their knowledge of crucial aspects of the Model Rules of Professional Responsibiltiy.
Students of all religious backgrounds -- or of no religious background -- are invited and welcome. Successful completion of the course will fulfill the law school's professional responsibility requirement: for the avoidance of doubt, this course is not a comprehensive overview of the ethical rules intended to prepare students for the MPRE exam. If you satisfy your professional responsibility requirement with this course you will have to independently prepare for the MPRE.