Kadijustiz in the ecclesiastical courts: Naming, blaming, reclaiming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article analyzes Israel's ecclesiastical court system through the prism of Weberian theory to both empirical and theoretical ends. On the empirical level, it aims to illuminate a grossly understudied socio-legal arena—the communal Christian courts in the Middle-East. On the theoretical level, it seeks to reclaim the Weberian concept of kadijustiz, which refers to “formally irrational” legal systems. In recent decades, scholars have engaged in a process of “blaming” that discredited the conceptualization of Islamic law as kadijustiz and resulted in the concept's erasure from socio-legal theory. After renaming it to the more neutral and non-Orientalist richterjustiz, we employ this new-old concept to analyze Israel's ecclesiastical courts and demonstrate its theoretical and analytical merits. The article concludes with several theoretical propositions, which draw on the empirical case study and contribute to the refinement of Weberian theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-77
Number of pages25
JournalLaw and Society Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant No. 454/20) and obtained IRB approval (No. 095/19). We are indebted to Tamar Parush, Ursula Wokoeck and Yuksel Sezgin for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this article, as well as to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. We would also like to thank our devoted research assistants: Adv. Manar Abboud, the research coordinator, Jane Abd al‐Malek, Areen Maroun, Linor Etlis, Manal Fares, Ghenwa Aslayeh, Monia Ghanem, Doreen Hazzan, Yara Rouhana, Shadi Alkara, Paula Abou Ghazaleh, and our editors, Nimrod Chiat, Omer Bejerano, and Shani Tsur. Last but not least, we owe a debt of gratitude to our interviewees who generously shared their stories with us. LSR

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Law and Society Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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