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After Secular Law$
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Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Robert A. Yelle, and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804775366

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804775366.001.0001

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Moses' Veil

Moses' Veil

Secularization as Christian Myth

(p.23) Chapter One Moses' Veil
After Secular Law

Robert A. Yelle

Stanford University Press

This chapter argues that the view that law is properly secular, or separate from, religion finds its roots in earlier theological readings of history. This includes the central event of Christian sacred history. The discussion traces some of the ways that secular law has been shaped by Christian soteriology and supersessionism. It argues that Christ's redemptive sacrifice ushered a division between “grace” and “law,” abrogating the Jewish ritual law and creating a divide between the theological and political domains. For instance, Paul's interpretation of Moses' veil encoded the claim that the Gospel had superseded the darkness of Jewish ritual, banishing all such signs of ritual particularity in favor of an enlightened universalism. Furthermore, this chapter argues that the historical connections and structural analogies and displacements between Christianity and secularism resulted in the formation of a secular legal economy of salvation parallel to the earlier theological one.

Keywords:   Christian themes, Jesus Christ, Christian sacred history, Gospel, secular law, Christian soteriology, Jewish ritual law

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