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Overlapping Jurisdictions: Between Legal Centralism and Legal Pluralism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on procedural cooperation with the general courts and on strategies employed by the Metz Beit Din in navigating between the competing jurisdictions of the Jewish and French legal systems. It would seem that the pendulum had swung more in the direction of legal centralism than pluralism, at least as far as the rabbinic court's understanding was concerned. Evidence of cooperation with the French judicial system, or signs of influence on the internal workings of the rabbinic court were limited strictly to civil concerns. The relationship between the Metz Beit Din and the French civil courts was the product of complex social, cultural, political, and legal forces in the eighteenth century. The accommodation to French law and its terminology represented the unmistakable acknowledgement by the Metz Beit Din of the institutional and juridical power of the French absolutist state.

Keywords: eighteenth century; French absolutist state; French civil courts; Jewish legal system; legal centralism; legal pluralism; Metz Beit Din



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