7 Pages

Introduction: The Constitutional Dimension of Jewish History

WithDaniel J. Elazar

Implicit in the foregoing discussion and otherwise a matter of commonsense knowledge is that the edah has gone through periodic regime changes in the course of Jewish history. The key to understanding those changes is to be found in the patterns of constitutional development of the Jewish people and its polity. Indeed, it is possible to suggest that Jewish history can be read as the progression of the generations through a series of historical epochs, each marked by the unfolding and subsequent undoing of its own constitutional synthesis within the overall framework of the Torah, leading in turn to a new epoch and the necessity for a new constitutional synthesis.