The Jottings of David Daube: Reflections from the 20th Century by One of Its Foremost Legal Minds by Calum M. Carmichael
- Publisher: YBK Publishers, Inc. (February 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- Paperback: 204 pages
- ISBN-10: 0980050812
One of the great legal minds of our time, Daube's depth of scholarship in a range of subjects-ancient literature, English literature, ancient law, medical ethics, much more-was matched by a dazzling agility and originality of mind-for instance: though raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, he produced strikingly original work on the New Testament. David Daube's life spanned almost the entire 20th century and he was witness to its history. Born a Jew in Germany in 1909, he spent World War II and its aftermath in Britain on the faculties of Cambridge, Aberdeen, and Oxford. He came to the United States in the '60s-to the University of California at Berkeley where he reveled in what he called the "unmanicured, unclubbable, countercultural attitudes." Through it all he never lost his love for the land of his birth-though it didn't love him back for many years: he was on Hitler's list of those to be put to death once Germany had conquered England. Not your typical fusty professor, he was a brilliant and charming commentator on matters personal, political, social, and philosophical. The reader of these jottings (set down in the 1970s and '80s) will understand within a page or two why those who knew him treasured him as a friend, mentor, and intellectual provocateur. These private reflections, gathered by one of his most distinguished students, are charming, insightful, thought-provoking, sometimes profound, and sometimes just amusing. His commentaries on political and social issues of his time ranged from bravely original thought on Israel and the Palestinians to an amusing and enlightening review of the sensational porn film Deep Throat. Here are some sample jottings: "I love women. They provide the unhappiness that I need in life." "People are more struck by the asininity of the law when they are trapped by it than when they are let off." "We are all of us survivors all the time; everything that is, is a survivor relative to what has fallen by the wayside. Naturally, having escaped from Hitler's clutches myself, I am a bit more alive to the whole business than the average guy." The books's editor, Calum Carmichael, Professor of Comparative Literature and Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell, has degrees in science, historical theology, and law from the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Oxford. He teaches biblical and cognate (Near Eastern and Talmudic) literature as well as courses on law and literature in antiquity. He is the author of nine books that focus primarily on biblical law; the editor of a six volume series devoted to the work of David Daube who was his teacher at Oxford; and the author of a memoir, Ideas and the Man: Remembering David Daube.
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