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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 book studies education and curriculum from the perspective of the teacher’s stance in the classroom. Writing through the lenses offered by autobiography, a lifetime in the classroom serving as teacher, and drawing heavily on Jewish and secular scholarly texts, Block offers a vision of education that serves as an alternative to the increasingly instrumentalist, managerial, standards-driven impersonal nature of contemporary schools. He advocates not for a pedagogy of ethics, but for the original ethical stance every teacher already (...) assumes by entering into the classroom. It is from this stance in ethics, he argues, that all pedagogy derives. (shrink)
One of the most respected religious thinkers of our time makes an impassioned plea for the return of religion to its true purpose—as a partnership with God in the work of ethical and moral living. What are our duties to others, to society, and to humanity? How do we live a meaningful life in an age of global uncertainty and instability? In To Heal a Fractured World, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks offers answers to these questions by looking at the ethics (...) of responsibility. In his signature plainspoken, accessible style, Rabbi Sacks shares with us traditional interpretations of the Bible, Jewish law, and theology, as well as the works of philosophers and ethicists from other cultures, to examine what constitutes morality and moral behavior. “We are here to make a difference,” he writes, “a day at a time, an act at a time, for as long as it takes to make the world a place of justice and compassion.” He argues that in today’s religious and political climate, it is more important than ever to return to the essential understanding that “it is by our deeds that we express our faith and make it real in the lives of others and the world.” To Heal a Fractured World—inspirational and instructive, timely and timeless—will resonate with people of all faiths. (shrink)
Revisiting Edward Said's late proposals for a one-state solution, Butler has come to a startling suggestion: Jewishethics not only demand a critique of Zionism, but must transcend its exclusive Jewishness in order to realize the ethical ...
Specialising in Jewish Medical Ethics – a term, I believe, first used as the title of my doctor's thesis (1955) subsequently condensed and revised in book form (1959) – I frequently receive inquiries from individuals and organisations seeking guidance on the Jewish attitude to moral issues in medicine. After a review of my voluminous correspondence on many phases of this subject, I have made a small selection on a variety of topics. The correspondence on the last of (...) the four topics, ‘medical experimentation on Animals’, is the longest, because it contains an element of polemics. Since this might make it of special interest to the Journal's readers, and since the subject is infrequently discussed in the literature of Medical Ethics, I decided to include it in this brief selection. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (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)
Duty and Healing positions ethical issues commonly encountered in clinical situations within Jewish law. The concept of duty is significant in exploring bioethical issues, and this book presents an authentic and non-parochial Jewish approach to bioethics, while it includes critiques of both current secular and Jewish literatures. Among the issues the book explores are the role of family in medical decision-making, the question of informed consent as a personal religious duty, and the responsibilities of caretakers. The exploration (...) of contemporary ethical problems in healthcare through the lens of traditional sources in Jewish law is an indispensable guide of moral knowledge. (shrink)
This is a new presentation of the philosophy of the Talmud. The Talmud is not a work of formal philosophy, but much of what it says is relevant to philosophical enquiry, including issues explored in contemporary debates. In particular, the Talmud has original ideas about the relation between universal ethics and the ethics of a particular community. This leads into a discussion on the relation between morality and ritual, and also about the epistemological role of tradition. The book (...) explains the paradoxes of Talmudic Judaism as arising from a philosophy of revolution, stemming from Jewish origins as a band of escaped slaves, determined not to reproduce the slave-society of Egypt. From this arises a daring humanism, and an emphasis on justice in this world rather than on other-worldly spirituality. A strong emphasis on education and the cultivation of rationality also stems from this. Governing the discussion is a theory of logic that differs significantly from Greek logic. Talmudic logic is one of analogy, not classification and is peculiarly suited to discussions of moral and legal human situations. This book will be of interest to those in the fields of philosophy, religion and the history of ideas, whether students, teachers and academics, or the interested general reader. (shrink)
This book breaks new ground in the study of Judaism, in philosophy, and in comparative ethics. It demonstrates that the assumption that Judaism has no natural law theory to speak of, held by the vast majority of scholars, is simply wrong. The book shows how natural law theory, using a variety of different terms for itself throughout the ages, has been a constant element in Jewish thought. The book sorts out the varieties of Jewish natural law theory, (...) illuminating their strengths and weaknesses. It also presents a case for utilising natural law theory in order to deal with current theological and philosophical questions in Judaism's ongoing reflection on its own meaning and its meaning for the wider world. David Novak combines great erudition in the Jewish tradition, the history of philosophy and law, and the imagination to argue for Judaism in the context of current debates, both theoretical and practical. (shrink)
1. Introduction: a name, not an essence -- 2. Why Jewish thought and what makes it Jewish? -- 3. Deadly philosophical abstraction -- 4. The stranger in your midst -- 5. Nefesh: the soul as flesh and blood -- 6. The environmentalist contribution to genocide -- 7. Torture -- 8. Hunger and homelessness -- 9. Philosophy, religion, and genocide -- 10. A concluding reflection on body and soul.
The purpose of Judaism -- The Exodus-Sinai continuum of Jewish life -- Genesis : Abraham and "the call" -- Exodus : embracing the covenant -- Leviticus : roadmap to a more perfect world -- Numbers : from wilderness to prophecy -- Deuteronomy : how central is God? -- Sinai applied : seven core values of the rabbinic tradition -- The American Jewish community and the public square -- Jews and the struggle for civil rights -- Soviet Jewry : (...) a cause of our own -- Protecting and defending the state of Israel -- What is a Jewish issue? -- Beyond self-interest -- Social justice takes root -- Reconciling Exodus and Sinai -- Conclusion : responding to "the call". (shrink)
Introduction: the road ahead -- Pt. I. Envisioning a just place -- 1. Why jewish social justice? -- 2. Place matters -- 3. The ideal city -- Pt. II. Principles and practice of social justice -- 4. Storytelling for social justice -- 5. Creating an integrated Jewish life -- 6. Partnerships and power -- 7. Sacred words: engaging with text and tradition -- Pt. III. Taking action -- 8. Direct service -- 9. Giving and investing money -- 10. (...) Advocacy -- 11. Community organizing -- Conclusion: where justice dwells. (shrink)
Jewish by birth, though from a secular family, Alan Morinis took a deep journey into Hinduism and Buddhism as a young man. He received a doctorate for his study of Hindu pilgrimage, learned yoga in India with B. K. S. Iyengar, and attended his first Buddhist meditation course in the Himalayas in 1974. But in 1997, when his film career went off track and he reached for some spiritual oxygen, he felt inspired to explore his Jewish heritage. In (...) his reading he happened upon a Jewish tradition of spiritual practice called Mussar. Gradually he realized he had stumbled on an insightful discipline for self-development, complete with meditative, contemplative, and other well-developed transformative practices designed to penetrate the deepest roots of the inner life. Eventually reaching the limits of what he could learn on his own, he decided to seek out a Mussar teacher. That was not easily achieved, since almost the entire world of the Mussar tradition had been wiped out in the Holocaust. In time, he did find an accomplished master who stood in an unbroken line of transmission of the Mussar tradition, and who lived at the center of a community of Orthodox Jews on Long Island. This book tells the story of Morinis’s journey to meet his teacher and what he learned from him, and reveals the central teachings and practices that are the spiritual treasury and legacy of Mussar. Alan Morinis has written this book because the wisdom and practices that helped him so much have not penetrated the world beyond the confines of Orthodox Judaism, and may not be fully appreciated even there at this time. His hope is that Jews and non-Jews alike will find in Mussar a time-tested path of spiritual practice that will help them discover the hidden radiance within. (shrink)
"Written in a racy, persuasive style, the book impresses the reader as a work of significant scholarship...I encourage students of comparative religions- and especially those of Islamic economics- to read it with great care."&$151; Islamic Studies The worlds of economics and theology rarely intersect. The former appears occupied exclusively with the concrete equations of supply and demand, while the latter revolves largely around the less tangible concerns of the soul and spirit. Intended as an interfaith clarification of the relationship between (...) the material and the spiritual worlds, this volume first inspects secular beliefs about the relationship between economics and ethics. Exploring the differences and similarities between the treatment of economic issues in each of the great monotheistic religions, Rodney Wilson reveals how each tradition considers such subjects as individual wealth, lending, economic regulation, usury, insurance capitalism, socialism, and banking. He concludes with an intriguing epilogue on the rapidly expanding field of business ethics. (shrink)
Tristram Engelhardt provides an important set of reflections for bioethics in a secular context. Taking Engelhardt's work as its point of departure this article explores the challenges that Jewish ethicists face in contributing to bioethics in a secular context. The article explores how the Jewish tradition can address issues in bioethics in ways that are true to its tradition and at the same time accessible and relevant to "moral strangers" in a secular society. Keywords: bioethics, Engelhardt, Jewish (...) tradition, moral strangers, multicultural, natural law CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Pt. 1. The individual and his creator. The fear of God in our time -- Natural morality -- In-depth Torah study -- Levels of mitzvot -- The personal element in serving God -- Religious experience -- Naturalness in the worship of God -- The significance of Torah values -- Tension vs. tranquility in the worship of God -- Pt. 2. The individual and society. Fundamentals of prayer -- Derekh eretz, being a mensch -- "I dwell among my people" -- The (...) obligation to sanctify God's name -- Attending to the needs of the community -- The message beyond mere words -- How to relate to one who has lost his faith -- Pt. 3. The individual and his life. Humanity -- Dealing with crisis -- Adhering to values -- Independent decision-making. (shrink)
Introduction: what planet are you from? A yeshiva boy's pilgrimage into philosophy, history, and reality -- 1. Halakhic spirituality: living in the presence of God -- 2. Toward a God-intoxicated halakha -- 3. Feminism and apologetics: lying in the presence of God -- 4. Biology or covenant? Conversion and the corrupting influence of gentile seed -- 5. Where did modern orthodoxy go wrong? The mistaken halakhic presumptions of Rabbi Soloveitchik -- 6. The God who hates lies: choosing life in the (...) midst of uncertainty. (shrink)