chapter  2
30 Pages

The Concept of the Three Ketarim: Their Place in Jewish Political Thought and Implications for Studying Jewish Constitutional History

WithStuart A. Cohen

This chapter examines the institutional processes whereby the stream of covenantal arrangements that have characterized the various epochs of Jewish constitutional history have been put into effect. It demonstrates that the concept of the three ketarim encapsulates the organizational system whereby Jewish polities traditionally—and consistently—distributed authority among and between specific governmental instrumentalities. The chapter suggests that a study of the development of the ketarim might also facilitate wider historical analyses of the dynamics of Jewish constitutional change. The timing, it may be suggested, is both significant and neat. It is significant because the term emerged during one of the most convulsive periods of Jewish constitutional history. The form, structure, and terminology of that critical period can therefore perhaps serve as a benchmark for the study of Jewish constitutional development in its entirety. The proper Jewish polity, is the implication, is that which contains fully articulated and functioning institutions in all three ketarim.