Greenberg Middle East Scholar-In-Residence
2012 Scholar-in-Residence Lecture:
Justice of the Kadi: New Perspectives on Ottoman Law
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Free Admission & Open to the Public
Iris Agmon, Department of Middle East Studies -Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) introduced the term "kadi-justiz" (Kadi's justice)
to characterize Islamic and similar non-European pre-modern legal systems as less
rational, arbitrary and unsystematic. The term implies that the judge in Islamic court
reaches his decisions intuitively and without systematic reasoning. For a long time,
historiography on the Ottoman Empire unwittingly sustained this terminology. In the
last couple of decades, however, new approaches to the study of Ottoman law and legal
history, particularly the socio-legal approach, have changed our understanding of
the legal system in general and the work of legal practitioners in the Ottoman Empire.
The lecture will discuss the transformation of the Ottoman judicial system focusing
on the key figure of the judge and pointing to new perspectives in the historiography
on the Ottoman Empire.
The Greenberg Middle East Scholar-in-Residence Series is made possible by a gift from
Skidmore Alumna, Jane Greenberg. The series enables the college to host an Israeli
scholar who through teaching, lecturing and participating in campus life, educates
the community on a range of topics concerning political life in the Middle East.