A Gateway between a Distant God and a Cruel World

The Contribution of Jewish German-Speaking Scholars to International Law


Through a collective biographical methodology of four scholars (Hans Kelsen, Hans J. Morgenthau, Hersch Lauterpacht and Erich Kaufmann) this book investigates how Jewish identity and intellectual ties to Judaic civilisation in the German speaking and legal context influenced international law. By using biblical constitutive metaphors, it argues that Jewish German lawyers inherited, inter alia, a particular Jewish legal approach that ‘made’ their understanding of the law as a means to reach God. The overarching argument is that because of their Jewish heritage, Jewish scholars inherited the endorsement of earthly particularism for the sake of universalism and the other way around: for the sake of universalism, humanity’s differences need to be solved through the law.
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Biographical Note

Reut Yael Paz, Ph.D. (2009) in international law/politics. Paz has conducted her research on the ‘Jewish question’ within the international legal framework at the University of Helsinki, Bar Ilan University (Israel) and at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

Review Quotes

"I found this book fascinating reading, particularly because of the mosaic-like quality of the author’s narrative style and her ability to bring together a number of interesting trends, biographical material, and reconstructed academic debates, and its innovative rooting (indirectly) of modern theories of international law with biblical hermeneutics."
Peter Petkoff, Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2013), pp. 483–490.

Table of contents

Acknowledgments; Prologue;
Chapter I: Introduction
1.1. Reading Judaism/Jewish Identity in International Law
1.2. Setting the Stage: Techniques, Precision and Structure
1.3. Time and Place
1.4. Structure
Chapter II: Historical Background
2.1. On Direct & Indirect Impacts of Geo-Historical Factors
2.2. European Enlightenment & Jewish Haskalah
2.3. Stepping into Modernity
2.4. Emancipation & Religion
2.5. The Geography of Emancipation
2.6. The Rubric of the German Culture
2.7. Bildung in Hapsburg Empire & Germany: The Politics of Emancipation
2.8. Haskalah as a Link
2.9. Enlightenment versus Emancipation
2.10. Evaluating Cosmopolitanism: Gebildeten versus Maskilim
2.11. Conclusion: the Beginning
Chapter III: Jews, Universalities and International Law
3.1. Retracing Jewish Legal Denkstil/Denkkollektiv
3.2. To be (or not to be) Jewish in German-Speaking Universities
3.3. Jewish Legal Denkstil/Denkkollektiv as Gateways in German Law Faculties
3.4. Jewish Cosmopolitanism with a Legal Denkstil/Denkkollektiv
3.5. First Parallel Development: International Law
3.6. Second Parallel Development: German Colonialism
3.7. Modernity’s Cosmopolitan Strategies
Chapter IV: First Steps of Jewish Gateways to God via International Law
4.1. Structural Paths to God’s Universality
4.2. Georg Jellinek
4.3. Jellinek’s Gateway to God between Goodness & Truth
Chapter V: Dramatis Personae: Background, Career, Intellectual ‘Seasons’ & Judaic Affiliations
5.1. Collective Biography
5.2. Comparison of Early Lives
5.3. The early Academic Careers; Orientations & Intellectual Influences
5.4. Later Intellectual & Political ‘Seasons’ & Careers
5.5. Jewish Identity & Availing of Opportunities
5.6. Endnotes: The Biographical Source Material
Chapter VI: The Gateways to God of the Dramatis Personae
6.1. The Basic Doctrine; ‘went looking for God, will be back soon.’
6.2. Kaufmann’s Factual-Morality
6.3. Kelsen’s Normative-Scientism
6.3.2. Transcendental Scientism
6.4. Lauterpacht’s Normative-Morality
6.5. Morgenthau’s Factual-Scientism
6.6. Similarities & Differences?
6.7. Mutual Dependencies
Chapter VII: Ascertaining the Gateway to God – First Illustration
7.1. Realizing the Structure of Argument in International Cases
7.2. Kaufmann: Post-War Vaterlandsliebe & International Law
7.3. Kelsen’s Assessment of the Nuremberg
7.4. Lauterpacht: Drafting the Israeli Declaration of Independence
7.5. Morgenthau: The Moral Dilemma of the Middle East
7.6. Sustaining Doctrinal Necessities ‘First Illustration’
Chapter VIII: Ascertaining the Gateway to God – Second Illustration
8.1. Legal Debates with Jewishness as an Undertone
8.2. Kelsen vs. Schmitt
8.3. Kaufmann vs. Smend vs. Schmitt vs. Nawiasky vs. Kelsen
8.4. Morgenthau vs. Schmitt; Morgenthau vs. Laski
8.5. Lauterpacht vs. Stone vs. Carr; Lauterpacht vs. Kaufmann
8.6. Sustaining Doctrinal Necessities ‘Second Illustration’
Chapter IX: Conclusions
Bibliography; Index.


All those interested in the history of international law, German law as well as Jewish European history, socio-economic conditions, culture, tradition and religion.