David Luban


Perhaps the best-known story in the Talmud is the tale of the Oven of Akhnai, in which Rabbi Eliezer performs miracles to prove a contested point of law, while the other rabbis in the court reply that even a divine voice cannot overturn the vote of the majority. The surprising twists in the story raise complex issues about the nature of authority and legal objectivity, the coerciveness of logic, the political character of courts, and the ethics of argument. This Article offers several readings of the Oven of Akhnai and explores its relevance to contemporary legal theory.

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