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Legal reform, interpretive communities and the quest for legitimacy: A contextual analysis of a legal circular

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Chapter Summary

The objective of this chapter is to read the context of the legal circular into its text, and to read the text within its context. The chapter argues that this legal text, and the reform that it promotes, should be understood in the context of political pressures that were exerted on Israeli shariʿa courts by external constituencies. The text itself engages in cross-cutting dialogues with various interpretive communities, and seeks to gain legitimacy among all of them. The chapter also briefly describes the legal-political context in which the circular was produced. Then it moves on to a close textual analysis, which traces the various voices and influences that may be detected in the text. Finally, the chapter offers an integrative discussion of text and context, as well as some general conclusions.

Keywords: contextual analysis; interpretive communities; Israeli shariʿa courts; legal circular; legal reform; legal-political context; legitimacy



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