Qualified Sovereignty, Law, and the Moral Floor: Jewish Thought about War and Political Authority

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Authors
Alexander, Laura E.
Issue Date
2019
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Journal Article
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Abstract
This paper argues for an international system in which political sovereignty is minimally shared among nation-states and international authorities in order to establish a global “moral floor” whereby international institutions have real power to enforce prohibitions against extreme violations of human well-being. The notion that the sovereignty of nation-states would be even minimally qualified sparks volatile debate. Fear of the loss of communal identity in nation-states causes some to desire a retreat from international law and norms. On the contrary, I argue that a system of minimally shared sovereignty does allow for preservation of communal identity. As a case study, I examine certain developments in religious-legal thought in Jewish communities during the classical rabbinic period. Multiple Jewish communities retained distinct identities in often-oppressive diasporic conditions, without political sovereignty, by developing systems of legal norms and integrating those laws creatively with laws of governing authorities. Contemporary Jewish thought, drawing on these experiences, provides helpful ways of conceptualizing shared sovereignty.|Keywords: shared sovereignty, Jewish religious law, international law, global ethics
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Alexander, L. E. (2019). Qualified Sovereignty, Law, and the Moral Floor: Jewish Thought about War and Political Authority. Supplement Series for the Journal of Religion & Society Supplement Series, 18, 186-204.
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Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University
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The journal is open-access and freely allows users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of all published material for personal or academic purposes.
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1941-8450
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