Cover: The Crown and the Courts: Separation of Powers in the Early Jewish Imagination, from Harvard University PressCover: The Crown and the Courts in HARDCOVER

The Crown and the Courts

Separation of Powers in the Early Jewish Imagination

Product Details


$41.00 • £35.95 • €37.95

ISBN 9780674737105

Publication Date: 11/10/2020


384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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[Flatto’s] work will inspire some new directions in historical studies of the eras in question. His excellent readings, of Josephus and the tannaim in particular, are welcome additions to the scholarship on both.—Natalie Dohrmann, Dead Sea Discoveries

Thanks to the publication of this panoramic work, future scholars have a wealth of writing to consult in separating out the strands of thought in early Jewish imagination regarding legal–political philosophy.—David Nimmer, Journal of the Church and State

A work of consummate scholarship. It is essential reading for anyone wanting to know about the origins and nature of the separation of powers—a fundamental doctrine of modern constitutionalism, especially in the United States… Flatto demonstrates that the modern doctrine of separation of powers originated in certain biblical texts.—Arthur J. Jacobson, Journal of Law and Religion

The Crown and the Courts offers us a learned and cogent analysis of the ways in which biblical and post-biblical Jewish sources sought to establish the independence of law from various forms of political authority. Flatto’s book is an important addition to the growing literature on rabbinic legal and political ideas.—Eric Nelson, author of The Theology of Liberalism

Was Josephus doing constitutional theory when he claimed that ancient Israel was a unique, theocratic polity, ruled by God and his laws, not men? This rich and provocative book deploys skillful close readings to argue that Josephus, the rabbis, and other important post-biblical Jewish thinkers made distinctive contributions to constitutional thought, developing an original account of separated powers. Flatto’s book should be read as a prequel to Eric Nelson’s scholarship showing how early modern Western political thought received rabbinic ideas.—Noah Feldman, author of Arab Winter: A Tragedy

Should justice be administered independently of political authority? Through detailed consideration of a wide range of ancient Jewish texts, David Flatto adds a necessary and relevant new dimension to current thinking about the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, and the rule of law.—Timothy D. Lytton, author of Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food

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