by R. Yitzchak Blau
Prof. Shmuel Shilo passed away last week and I thought it appropriate to highlight a Tradition article of his during the shiva. Prof. Shilo graduated from YU in 1957 and then idealistically made aliyah as a single in 1958. He became a professor of mishpat Ivri at Hebrew University. In the Summer of 1982, Prof. Shilo published an article on the differences between mishpat Ivri and classic halakhic study. He outlines four approaches to investigation of Jewish law: analytic, historical, comparative, and ethical/philosophic. The Brisker Derekh is an example of the first category. The second category incorporates both historical analysis based on external factors (socio-economic, etc.) and the internal development of halakha over time. Comparative study includes the influence of Jewish law on gentile courts and the influence of foreign courts on Jewish judgments, a comparison of different legal institutions, and investigating whether the development of Jewish law fits the pattern of other legal systems. Prof. Shilo states that the legal scholar has a unique contribution to make regarding this third category since the other areas of inquiry can be accomplished by the halakhist, the historian, and the ethicist or philosopher. Yehi zikhro baruch.
Article link (PDF)