Autopoiesis, Nihilism and Technique: On Death and the Origins of Legal Paradoxes

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illustrates the fundamental paradox of law by referring to two classic texts, one from Greek tragedy, the other from the Jewish Babylonian Talmud. The first text tells of the famous dispute between Antigone and Creon regarding the unlawful burial of Polynices. The second text, perhaps less well known, tells of a dispute between Rabbi Eliezer and the other rabbis on a halakhic question. After failing to convince his fellow Rabbis with reason, Rabbi Eliezer turned to the help of miracles, making a tree move, a stream of water flow backwards and the walls of the synagogue to bend. Even after a voice from heaven confirmed Rabbi Eliezer’s view, the other rabbis remained unconvinced. They maintained their position, claiming that the law is not in Heaven, but as God himself said on Mount Sinai, ‘One must bend to the will of the majority.’ The Talmud concludes by describing God’s response. He laughed and said, ‘My sons have defeated me, my sons have defeated me’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParadoxes and Inconsistencies in the Law
EditorsOren Perez, Gunther Teubner
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing (UK), Hart Publishing
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781472563507
StatePublished - 2006


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