Chaim Saiman

Caroline Zelaznik Gruss and Joseph S. Gruss Visiting Professor in Talmudic Civil Law

Spring 2017

Areeda 132

617-384-5979

Assistant: Jane Reader / 617-495-7719

Biography

Chaim Saiman is a scholar of Jewish law, insurance law and private law. His scholarship has appeared in journals including, the American Journal of Comparative Law, the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, and the Journal of Law and Religion. Professor Saiman has served as the Gruss Visiting Professor of Talmudic Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the William Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life at Princeton University, and as the Jewish law editor for the Journal of Law and Religion and as an editor for the American Journal of Comparative Law. He has visited at Bar-Ilan Law Faculty and the The Hebrew University Faculty of Law.

Professor Saiman received his B.S. from Georgia State University, and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. He has also completed graduate Talmudic and Biblical studies at Yeshivat Har Etzion and undergraduate Talmudic and Biblical studies at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavne in Israel. Prior to joining the faculty at Villanova, he served as an Olin Fellow at Harvard Law School, a Golieb Fellow in legal history at NYU Law School, and as a law clerk to Judge Michael McConnell on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. At Villanova, Professor Saiman teaches Contracts, Insurance Law, Jewish Law and Legislation.

Chaim Saiman, One God, No State, and Many Legal Arguments: Multivalent Logic in Jewish Law, in Law and the New Logics 69 (H. Patrick Glenn & Lionel Smith eds., Camb. Univ. Press 2017).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Jewish Law
Type: Book
Abstract
While speculating about the central message of the Hebrew Bible is dangerous, surely, proclaiming the truth of the monotheistic God and eradicating idolatrous polytheism, are some of its core themes. Viewed from the perspective of duality and multiplicity, a casual reader will likely conclude that the Bible maintains a rather bivalent view of the world. Following the God is good, worshiping idols and false gods is bad. This reflects what we might call a procedural view of bi-valence. That is, if there are two options A & B, if A is correct than B is perforce wrong. Examples of this thinking can be found in many places, including chapter 30 of Deuteronomy: See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them. I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. Yet, the Biblical worldview also entails second, more substantive, version of bi-valence. This is bound up in the monotheistic claim that there is One, as opposed to many, Gods. Contrary to the prevailing view of the time, the Bible argues that there is one source of life, one source of truth, one source of meaning, and one source of revelation; claims that strongly contrast with the polytheistic view which holds there are many sources of life, meaning and truth. In broad strokes, polytheism would seem to resonate with multivalence, whereas the Bible's universal monotheism may offer the strongest form of bi-valence imaginable. This central idea is reflected in many aspects of Jewish law and life, and is neatly summarized in the havdala ceremony – a short prayer recited at the conclusion of Shabbat each Saturday night. Liturgically, this prayer gives each Jew marching orders as he exits from the holy space of Shabbat to the mundane zone of workweek.
Chaim Saiman, Halakhah: The Rabbinic Idea of Law (Princeton Univ. Press forthcoming 2017).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Jewish Law
Type: Book
Chaim Saiman, Public Law, Private Law, and Legal Science, 56 Am. J. Comp. L. 691 (2008).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Jewish Law
,
Legal Theory & Philosophy
,
Comparative Law
Type: Article
Abstract
This essay explores the historical and conceptual connections between private law and nineteenth century classical legal science from the perspective of German, American, and Jewish law. In each context, legal science flourished when scholars examined the confined doctrines traditional to private law, but fell apart when applied to public, administrative and regulatory law. Moving to the contemporary context, while traditional private law scholarship retains a prominent position in German law and academia, American law has increasingly shifted its focus from the language of substantive private law to a legal regime centered on public and procedural law. The essay concludes by raising skepticism over recent calls to reinvigorate the Euro-American dialogue by focusing on traditional private law and scholarship.
Chaim Saiman, Restitution in America: Why the US Refuses to Join the Global Restitution Party, 28 Oxford J. Legal Stud. 99 (2008).
Categories:
Civil Practice & Procedure
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Remedies
,
Comparative Law
Type: Article
Abstract
In the past generation, restitution law has emerged as a global phenomenon. From its Oxbridge home, restitution migrated to the rest of the Commonwealth, and ongoing Europeanization projects have brought the common law of restitution into contact with the Romanist concept of unjust enrichment, further internationalizing this movement. In contrast, in the United States, scholarly interest in restitution, in terms of books, articles, treatises, symposia and courses on restitution, is meager. Similarly, while restitution, equity and tracing cases receive considerable treatment at the highest levels of the English judiciary, US courts seem uninterested in these issues, rarely producing the theory-laden opinions that have become quite common in the House of Lords. The situation is particularly curious because restitution is generally thought to be the invention of late nineteenth-century American scholars. This article explains this divergence. I argue that the Commonwealth restitution discourse is largely a product of pre- or anti-realist legal thought which generates scepticism within the American academic-legal establishment. The article identifies the two dominant camps in American private law thought—left-leaning redistributionalists and the centre-right legal economists—and shows that neither has any use for the Commonwealth's discourse. I conclude by analysing the emerging drafts of the Restatement of Restitution and forecast the future of American restitution law.
Chaim Saiman, Jesus’ Legal Theory: A Rabbinic Reading, 23 J.L. & Religion 97 (2007).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Religion & Law
,
Jewish Law
Type: Article
Abstract
These are heady times in America's law and religion conversation. On the campaign trail in 1999, then-candidate George W. Bush declared Jesus to be his favorite political philosopher. Since his election in 2001, legal commentators have criticized both President Bush and the Supreme Court for improperly basing their decisions on their sectarian Christian convictions. Though we pledge to be one nation under God, a recent characterization of the law and religion discourse sees America as two sub-nations divided by God. Moreover, debate concerning the intersection between law, politics and religion has moved from the law reviews to the New York Times Sunday Magazine, which has published over twenty feature-length articles on these issues since President Bush took office in 2001. Today, more than anytime in the past century, the ideas of an itinerant first-century preacher from Bethlehem are relevant to American law.

Education History

Current Courses

Course Catalog View

Areeda 132

617-384-5979

Assistant: Jane Reader / 617-495-7719