Divine Command Morality and Jewish Tradition

Journal of Religious Ethics 23 (1):39 - 67 (1995)

Authors
Avi Sagi
Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan
Daniel Statman
University of Haifa
Abstract
Given the religious appeal of divine command theories of morality (DCM), and given that these theories are found in both Christianity and Islam, we could expect DCM to be represented in Judaism, too. In this essay, however, we show that hardly any echoes of support for this thesis can be found in Jewish texts. We analyze texts that appear to support DCM and show they do not. We then present a number of sources clearly opposed to DCM. Finally, we offer a theory to explain the absence of DCM in Judaism, claiming that the rational character of "Halakha", as well as the moral and rational character of God, does not provide suitable ground for the growth of DCM theses.
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