UCL Institute of Jewish Studies


Maimonides and Contemporary Tort Theory: Law, Religion, Economics and Morality

6:30 pm, 11 May 2015

Event Information

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Institute of Jewish Studies


Gower Street
United Kingdom

Yuval Sinai, Yale University

This lecture presents Maimonides' complete tort theory, revealed in the light of all his works - halakhic as well as philosophical. Professor Sinai will recount a story that was neglected by the scholars and the commentators on Maimonides: a story about the rationalization of tort laws that was told by Maimonides in the 'Guide of the Perplexed', his well-known philosophical work, from which it emerges that tort law has two main objectives. One is that of removing wrong (a type of corrective justice), and the second, which is surprising in view of the period in which it was first conceived, is the social objective of preventing damages. There is also a religious dimension, which Maimonides emphasises less, and this includes the prohibition against causing injury, "an eye for an eye", and a blurring of the boundaries between criminal law and tort law. Professor Sinai will also include a comparison between Maimonides and prominent modern scholars.

Professor Yuval Sinai is a Schusterman Visiting Professor of Law at Yale, and Senior Research Scholar of Law at Yale University Law School. Associate Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for the Application of Jewish Law (ISMA), Law School, Netanya Academic College, and Visiting Professor at the Bar Ilan Law School (Israel), formerly Visiting Professor at McGill University, Canada (2007-2008). His research interests are Jewish law, comparative law, Law and Religion. The lecture will be presented with Dr Benjamin Shmueli, Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School (2013-15) and a Senior Lecturer at Bar-Ilan University Law School, Israel, whose research interests are tort law, domestic violence, parent-child relations, comparative law, the intersection between tort law and family law, and Jewish Law.