Chapter

Daniel J. Elazar and Federalism as Covenant

Michael Burgess

in In Search of the Federal Spirit

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199606238
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191752476 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606238.003.0007
Daniel J. Elazar and Federalism as Covenant

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The chapter provides a brief intellectual biography of Elazar and examines in detail his major contribution to the study of federalism. His distinctive approach to and understanding of federalism is revealed and a textual exegesis of his major works on federalism is conducted. Elazar’s overall contribution to the study of federalism is assessed as colossal. It spans over 30 years of devotion to a single scholarly goal, namely, that of demonstrating that federalism both as an idea and a thing is synonymous with the Judeo-Christian covenant. This makes Elazar’s interpretation of federalism the most ideologically distinctive among the five theorists of federalism in terms of its unswerving insistence on a religiously informed historical basis to federalism. Covenantal federalism clearly incorporates the federal spirit in a peculiar way and the chapter concludes with an appraisal of this approach to what he called the ‘post-modern epoch’.

Keywords: covenant; covenantal federalism; Post-Modern Epoch of Federalism; Matrix Model of Federalism; new confederations; globalization; paradigm of federalism; federalism as process and structure

Chapter.  18809 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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