Abraham: The World's First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer (Jewish Encounters Series) (Hardcover)

Abraham: The World's First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer (Jewish Encounters Series) By Alan Dershowitz Cover Image

Abraham: The World's First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer (Jewish Encounters Series) (Hardcover)


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Part of the Jewish Encounter series

One of the world’s best-known attorneys gives us a no-holds-barred history of Jewish lawyers: from the biblical Abraham through modern-day advocates who have changed the world by challenging the status quo, defending the unpopular, contributing to the rule of law, and following the biblical command to pursue justice.
The Hebrew Bible’s two great examples of advocacy on behalf of problematic defendants—Abraham trying to convince God not to destroy the people of Sodom, and Moses trying to convince God not to destroy the golden-calf-worshipping Children of Israel—established the template for Jewish lawyers for the next 4,500 years. Whether because throughout history Jews have found themselves unjustly accused of crimes ranging from deicide to ritual child murder to treason, or because the biblical exhortation that “justice, justice, shall you pursue” has been implanted in the Jewish psyche, Jewish lawyers have been at the forefront in battles against tyranny, in advocating for those denied due process, in negotiating for just and equitable solutions to complex legal problems, and in efforts to ensure a fair trial for anyone accused of a crime.
Dershowitz profiles Jewish lawyers well-known and unheralded, admired and excoriated, victorious and defeated—and, of course, gives us some glimpses into the gung-ho practice of law, Dershowitz-style. Louis Brandeis, Theodor Herzl, Judah Benjamin, Max Hirschberg, René Cassin, Bruno Kreisky, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Irwin Cotler are just a few of the “idol smashers, advocates, collaborators, rescuers, and deal makers” who helped to change history. Dershowitz’s thoughts on the future of the Jewish lawyer are presented with the same insight, shrewdness, and candor that are the hallmarks of his more than four decades of writings on the law and how it is (and should be!) practiced.

ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ is the New York Times best-selling author of more than thirty books. His articles have appeared in hundreds of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Harvard Law Review, The Yale Law Journal, The Jerusalem Post, and Haaretz. He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School, and has worked for more than fifty years in the areas of civil liberties, human rights, and criminal law. Honors he has received include the Anti-Defamation League’s William O. Douglas First Amendment Freedom Award.
Product Details ISBN: 9780805242935
ISBN-10: 0805242937
Publisher: Schocken
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Pages: 208
Language: English
Series: Jewish Encounters Series
“At once frank and wry, Dershowitz demonstrates how the Jewish value of the rule of law, and the actions of Jewish lawyers themselves, have contributed to the pursuit of justice. Clear and accessible, with endnotes to please scholars, this book will likely appeal to both Jews and non-Jews.” —Publishers Weekly

“This is the biblical Abraham as you have never seen him before: as the father of a long line of Jewish lawyers. Here is a story told with wit, verve, and penetrating insight by one of the great Jewish lawyers of our time—the fearless, peerless Alan Dershowitz. A brilliant, entertaining, and wonderfully stimulating book.” 
—Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, author of Not in God’s Name 
“We live in a period of dangerously escalating tensions among religious communities, with old hatreds and stereotypes making ominous comebacks. In this corrosive atmosphere, as Jews, Christians, and Muslims try to sort out the intricate relationships among their traditions so that a mutually respectful atmosphere can be created, no single figure is more significant than Abraham. The ancient patriarch is respected as the ‘Father of Faith’ by all three communities, but how well is he understood? Alan Dershowitz deftly reveals him in a fresh light, as the Jewish lawyer par excellence,  enabling us to appreciate the man from Ur of the Chaldees in a new and lively way.”  
—Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard University, and author of How to Read the Bible

“The wit of the book’s subtitle continues in this sparkling history of the world’s first Jew and the world’s first lawyer. You don’t have to be Jewish, or a lawyer, or even a believer in the existence of Abraham and his main legal adversary to be entertained and informed by this delightful book.” 
—Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct and The Better Angels of our Nature, and Rebecca Goldstein, author of Betraying Spinoza and Plato at the Googleplex