Jewishethics like Judaism itself has often been charged with being "particularistic," and in modernity it has been unfavorably compared with the universality of secular ethics. This charge has become acute philosophically when the comparison is made with the ethics of Kant. However, at this level, much of the ethical rejection of Jewish particularism, especially its being beholden to a God who is above the universe to whom this God prescribes moral norms and judges according (...) to them, is also a rejection of Christian (or any other monotheistic) ethics, no matter how otherwise universal. Yet this essay argues that Jewishethics that prescribes norms for all humans, and that is knowable by all humans, actually constitutes a wider moral universe than does Kantian ethics, because it can include non-rational human objects and even non-human objects altogether. This essay also argues that a totally egalitarian moral universe, encompassing all human relations, becomes an infinite, totalizing universe, which can easily become the ideological justification (ratio essendi) of a totalitarian regime. (shrink)
Over the past decade much significant new work has appeared in the field of Jewishethics. While much of this work has been devoted to issues in applied ethics, a number of important essays have explored central themes within the tradition and clarified the theoretical foundations of Jewishethics. This important text grew out of the need for a single work which accurately and conveniently reflects these developments within the field. The first text of its (...) kind in almost two decades, Contemporary JewishEthics and Morality presents wide-ranging and carefully organized recent essays on Jewish ethical theory and practice. Serving as an introduction to Jewishethics, it acquaints the student with the distinctive methodological issues involved and offers a sampling of Jewish positions on contemporary moral problems. The book features work from both traditionalist and liberal contributors, making this the only volume which encompasses the full range of contemporary Jewish ethical perspectives. Writers such as Harold Schulweis, Judith Plaskow, David Novak, David Hartman, and Blu Greenberg discuss law and ethics, natural law, humility, justice, sex and the family, euthanasia, and other vital issues relating to modern Judaism. Many of the readings appear here for the first time, making this important text the most timely sourcebook in its field. Uniquely qualified to reflect the high level and depth of contemporary work in this area of study, Contemporary JewishEthics and Morality is an essential contribution to any course dealing with Jewishethics. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- PART 1: Overview * JewishEthics in a New Key * Temptations of Tradition * Sacred Compromise * Renewing JewishEthics * PART II: On the Ground * Learning to Speak about the Elephant in the Room * The Art of Moral Criticism * Deal Breaker and the Money Laundering Rabbis * Loving the Stranger and the Fall of the Agriprocessors * The Problem with Income and Wealth Inequalities * PART III: (...) Frontiers * "The Exaltation of the Possible" -- Ethics and Play * An Optimistic Case for the Future of JewishEthics In a Post-Madoff World. (shrink)
This companion to Elliot Dorff's three books on Jewishethics -- Matters of Life and Death , To Do the Right and the Good , and Love Your Neighbor and Yourself -- is designed for group as well as individual study. Through suggested readings from Dorff's books, probing questions, lively discussion topics, and simple writing exercises, readers will be able to analyze and clarify their own positions on a host of controversial issues: sex, surrogate motherhood, adoption, family abuse, (...) responsibilities for charitable giving, the ethics of war, suicide, and euthanasia, and more. (shrink)
Judaism in the twentieth century began to return to its scriptural, communal roots after a centuries-long detour through Greek-influenced natural philosophy, a detour during which science and ethics were assumed to be partners and Jewishethics drew heavily on natural philosophy and science. Twentieth-century philosophical ethics and science, particularly biological science, have developed in such a way as to make any continuation of that historical partnership problematic. This is not altogether regrettable because the problematizing of this (...) long-standing partnership has driven Jewishethics back to its real roots: covenantal relationship, and moral wisdom and discernment. (shrink)
Leading contemporary Jewish thinker David Novak has here compiled ten of his essays on a variety of issues in Jewishethics. Drawing constantly on classical Jewish tradition, Novak also looks at a wide range of modern critical scholarship on the ancient sources. He aims to point out certain common features of Jewish and Christian ethics and the normative implications of this overlapping of traditions; he assumes the reality of a "Judeo-Christian ethic," while refusing to (...) minimize the doctrinal differences between the two traditions. The essays address such major normative issues in social justice as ecology, war and peace, the treatment of minorities, and the approach to AIDS patients. This combination of theoretical reflection and practical application, along with careful and detailed analysis of classical Jewish texts, makes the book a welcome contribution to contemporary ethical theory and normative ethics as well as a work of original Jewish theology. (shrink)
The case for dialogue -- Increasing moral capital through moral imagination -- The art of ethical dialogue -- Intelligent spirituality in business -- Spirituality in (and out) of the classroom -- Listening to the anxious atheists -- Beyond the flat world metaphor -- Dialogue as a restraint on wealth -- The limits of dialogue.
This article examines the, hitherto comparatively unexplored, reception of Greek embryology by medieval Muslim jurists. The article elaborates on the views attributed to Hippocrates (d. ca. 375 BC), which received attention from both Muslim physicians, such as Avicenna (d. 1037), and their Jewish peers living in the Muslim world including Ibn Jumayʽ (d. ca. 1198) and Moses Maimonides (d. 1204). The religio-ethical implications of these Graeco-Islamic-Jewish embryological views were fathomed out by the two medieval Muslim jurists Shihāb al-Dīn (...) al-Qarāfī (d. 1285) and Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 1350). By putting these medieval religio-ethical discussions into the limelight, the article aims to argue for a two-pronged thesis. Firstly, pre-modern medical ethics did exist in the Islamic tradition and available evidence shows that this field had a multidisciplinary character where the Islamic scriptures and the Graeco-Islamic-Jewish medical legacy were highly intertwined. This information problematizes the postulate claiming that medieval Muslim jurists were hostile to the so-called ‘ancient sciences’. Secondly, these medieval religio-ethical discussions remain playing a significant role in shaping the nascent field of contemporary Islamic bioethics. However, examining the exact character and scope of this role still requires further academic ventures. (shrink)
New Zealand and United Kingdom governments have set new directives for increased consultation with the public about health care. Set against a legacy of modest success with past engagement with public consultations, this paper considers potentially adverse ethical implications of the new directives. Drawing on experiences from New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and on an Orthodox Jewish perspective, the paper seeks to answer two questions: What conditions can compromise the ethics of public consultation? How can the public (...) respond ethically to consultation? In answering these questions, the paper considers how Orthodox Judaism, as a specific positive morality, can aid the development of public policy. It is suggested that an Orthodox Jewish perspective does not require limiting the content of public consultations and helps to define a common procedural morality binding Jews and non-Jews. This procedural morality requires avoiding two conditions that, as shown from Jewish texts, make public consultation unethical. These are overpreparation and underpreparation. Members of the public who deem a consultation unethical should give feedback not on the proposal but on the conditions they perceive to prevent the consulting party from considering their viewpoints on the proposal. (shrink)
Halakhah and ethics in the Jesus tradition -- Matthew's divorce texts in the light of pre-rabbinic Jewish law -- Let the dead bury their dead : Jesus and the law revisited -- James, Israel, and Antioch -- Natural law in Second Temple Judaism -- Natural law in the New Testament? -- The Noachide commandments and New Testament ethics -- The beginning of Christian public ethics : from Luke to Aristides and Diognetus -- Jewish and Christian (...) public ethics in the early Roman Empire. (shrink)
This discussion develops six of the most important guiding principles of classical Jewish business ethics and illustrates their application to a complex recent case of product liability. These principles are: (1) the legitimacy of business activity and profit; (2) the divine origin and ordination of wealth (and hence the limits and obligations of human ownership); (3) the preeminent position in decision making given to the protection and preservation (sanctity) of human life; (4) the protection of consumers from commercial (...) harm; (5) the avoidance of fraud and misrepresentation in sales transactions; and (6)the moral requirement to go beyond the letter of the law. Although these Talmudic principles are clearly obligatory only for "Torah-obedient" Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, many Jews share a sensibility informed by them. Non-Jews, too, may be instructed by Jewish teachings about business ethics. (shrink)
Philosophers generally agree that meaningful ethical statements are universal in scope. If so, what sense is there to speak about a business ethics particular to Judaism? Just as a Jewish algebra and a Jewish physics are contradictions in terms, so too, is the notion of a particularly Jewish business ethics. The goal of this paper is to deny the above assertion and to explore the potentially unique characteristic of a Jewish business ethics. (...) class='Hi'>Ethics, in the final analysis, is not like algebra or physics. Specifically, it is argued here that – in terms of substance – Jewish business ethics differs from secular approaches in three very specific ways. Jewishethics: (1) recognizes God as the ultimate source of value, (2) acknowledges the centrality of the community, (3) and holds out the promise that men and women (living in community) can transform themselves. We define Jewishethics as the interpretation of the written and oral Torah to determine what God commands us to be and to do. The paper carefully explores this definition and examines its specific implications for modern business ethics. (shrink)
Judism identifies the virtue of humility as constitutive of the moral life and as furnishing its dispositional foundation. The paper traces the central place given humility in Jewish moral teaching and in the Jewish understanding of God. The author asks whether this stress on humility is supported by rational ethical theory. His claim is that an examination of Rawls' contract view suggests this is so by revealing that a sense of humility not only encourages adoption of (...) the moral point of view but guides moral reasoning to sound conclusions. (shrink)
Introduction, by D. J. Silver.--The issues: Some current trends in ethical theory, by A. Edel. Contemporary problems in ethics from a Jewish perspective, by H. Jonas. What is the contemporary problematic of ethics in Christianity? By J. M. Gustafson. Modern images of man, by J. N. Hartt. Is there a common Judaeo-Christian ethical tradition? By I. M. Blank. Problematics of Jewishethics, by M. A. Meyer. Revealed morality and modern thought, by N. Samuelson.--The Jewish (...) background: Does Torah mean law? By J. Neusner. Confrontation of Greek and Jewishethics: Philo: De Decalogo, by S. Sandmel. Reprobation, prohibition, invalidity: an examination of the Halakhic development concerning intermarriage, by L. Silberman. Death and burial in the Jewish tradition, by S. B. Freehof. God and the ethical impulse, by W. G. Plaut.--Social action: Civil disobedience and the Jewish tradition, by S. G. Broude. Religious responsibility for the social order: A Jewish view, by E. L. Fackenheim. Toward a theology for social action, by R. G. Hirsch. The mission of Israel and social action, by E. Lipman. Some cautionary remarks, by J. Kravetz.--The mission of Israel: On the theology of Jewish survival, by S. S. Schwarzchild. Meaning and purpose of Jewish survival, by A. Gilbert. Beyond the apologetics of mission, by D. J. Silver. (shrink)
In Early Christian Ethics in Interaction with Jewish and Greco-Roman Contexts experts from various fields analyze the process of transformation of early Christian ethics because of the ongoing interaction with Jewish, Greco-Roman and ...
In this book Raymond L. Weiss examines how a seminal Jewish thinker negotiates the philosophical conflict between Athens and Jerusalem in the crucial area of ethics. Maimonides, a master of both the classical and the biblical-rabbinic traditions, reconciled their differing views of morality primarily in the context of Jewish jurisprudence. Taking into consideration the entire corpus of Maimonides' writings, Weiss focuses on the ethical sections of the Commentary on the Mishnah and the Mishneh Torah , but also (...) discusses the Guide of the Perplexed , the letters of Maimonides, and his medical works. The gulf between classical philosophy and the Torah made the task of Maimonides extraordinarily difficult. Weiss shows that Maimonides subtly preserves the tension between those traditions while producing a practical accommodation between them. To explain how Maimonides was able to accomplish this twofold goal, Weiss takes seriously the multilevel character of Maimonides' works. Weiss interrupts Maimonides as a heterodox thinker who, with utter integrity, faces the Law's encounter with philosophy and gives both the Torah and philosophy their due. (shrink)
This article draws on ancient and medieval Jewish texts to explore the role of the physical environment in Jewish thought. Itsituates Jewish teachings in the context of the debate between anthropocentrism and ecocentrism, discusses the Jewish view ofnature, and reviews various interpretations of an important Biblical precept of environmental ethics. It argues that while Jewish thoughtcontains many "green" elements, it also contains a number of beliefs that challenge some contemporary environmental values.
This discussion develops six of the most important guiding principles of classical Jewish business ethics and illustrates their application to a complex recent case of product liability. These principles are: (1) the legitimacy of business activity and profit; (2) the divine origin and ordination of wealth (and hence the limits and obligations of human ownership); (3) the preeminent position in decision making given to the protection and preservation (sanctity) of human life; (4) the protection of consumers from commercial (...) harm; (5) the avoidance of fraud and misrepresentation in sales transactions; and (6) the moral requirement to go beyond the letter of the law. Although these Talmudic principles are clearly obligatory only for “Torah-obedient” Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, many Jews share a sensibility informed by them. Non-Jews, too, may be instructed by Jewish teachings about business ethics. (shrink)
This paper attempts to develop the foundations of a contemporary Jewish moral theory. It treats the Jewish legal and moral tradition as the object of an act of interpretive recovery that is carried out by contemporary Jews who are sensitive to the demands of their historical situation, a situation defined by the Nazi destruction of European Jewry and by the reestablishment of the Jewish state. In the course of the paper I develop an approach to post-Holocaust (...) class='Hi'>Jewish experience that derives from the work of Emil Fackenheim and try to show how Jewish moral imperatives arise within Fackenheim's account of the Jewish situation. The Jew's understanding of the role of God in moral obligation, his appreciation of the demands of the historical moment, and his interpretive recovery of the Jewish moral tradition-all are shown to depend upon and emerge from a reflective examination of Jewish moral and legal resistance during the Holocaust. (shrink)
This paper outlines the traditional Jewish approach to medical ethics, as perceived by the Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, himself an academic specialist in this field. It is based on a `St Paul's Lecture' given to the London Diocesan Council for Christian Jewish understanding.