Mr. Goldman advances, with typical Pharisee conceit, the moral superiority of Talmudic Judaism over Islam, attempting what no con man before the modern era could achieve, a linkage between the murderous violence and rabbinic dictatorship of Talmudic Judaism, and the Christian West's heritage of freedom and liberty.
Wife-beating, sharia, and Western law
By David P. Goldman | Asia Times | May 25, 2010
...(Muslim) Sharia (law) resembles Halakha (Judaic law), but by construction, for the same reason the Koran resembles the Torah: it is derived from it, with self-serving adjustments (Ishmael becomes the heir of Abraham rather than Isaac). But the principles of the two legal systems are radically different. That is why Jewish observance of Halakha never has clashed with the legal systems of modern democracy while sharia inevitably must conflict, and in the most intractable and intimate way, that is, in matters of family law.
The term "law" applied to Judaism and Islam means entirely different things to radically different peoples. Civil law rests ultimately on the state's monopoly of violence. In Muslim states, civil and religious law are identical, such that sharia courts hold the sword of the state. No Jewish religious court has had the capacity to inflict violence since the 1st century CE; the first detailed codification of Jewish law appears in the 3rd century in the Mishnah. The rabbis of antiquity explicitly put in abeyance ancient applications of violence, such as the injunction to kill a rebellious son (Deuteronomy 21:18-21); the Talmud (Sanhedrin 71a) states that no Jewish court ever handed down such a sentence. Killing of rebellious children, as noted, happens in Muslim countries, and is sadly frequent among Muslim immigrant communities in the West.
Jewish law, though, requires no adaptation to modern Western law, for modern Western law ultimately derives from Jewish principles, as Harvard's Eric Nelson most recently showed in his 2010 book The Hebrew Republic, and Michael Novak explained in his 2002 volume On Two Wings. Jewish law proceeds from God's Covenant with each member of the Jewish people. The notion of an intermediate sovereign, such as Islam's "governor" of the family, is inconceivable in Jewish law, for there is only one Sovereign, the King of Kings. The powers of the earthly sovereign derive from God and are limited by God's laws. The American founding notion of "inalienable rights" stems from the Hebrew concept of covenant: a grant of rights implies a Grantor, and an irreversible grant implies a God who limits his own sovereignty in covenant with mankind. (End quote)
Mr. Goldman is senior editor at First Things