Samuel Lebens takes the three principles of Jewish faith, as proposed by Rabbi Joseph Albo (1380-1444), in order to scrutinize and refine them with the toolkit of contemporary analytic philosophy. What could it mean for a perfect being to create a world from nothing? Could our world be anything more than a figment of God's imagination? What is the Torah? What does Judaism expect from a Messiah, and what would it mean for a world to be redeemed? These questions (...) are explored in conversation with a wide array of Jewish sources and with an eye towards diverse fields of contemporary research, such as cosmology, philosophical logic, the ontology of literature, and the metaphysics of time. The Principles of Judaism articulates the most fundamental axioms of OrthodoxJudaism in the vernacular of contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
This article first describes some of the chief contrasts between Judaism and American secularism in their underlying convictions about the business environment and the expectations which all involved in business can have of each other—namely, duties vs. rights,communitarianism vs. individualism, and ties to God and to the environment based on our inherent status as God’s creatures rather than on our pragmatic choice. Conservative Judaism’s methodology for plumbing the Jewish tradition for guidance is described and contrasted to those of (...)Orthodox and Reform Judaism.One example of how Conservative Judaism can inform us on a current matter is developed at some length—namely, privacy in the workplace. That section discusses (1) the reasons for protecting privacy; (2) protection from intrusion, including employer spying; (3) protection from disclosure of that intended to remain private; (4) individualistic vs. communitarian approaches to grounding the concern for privacy; and (5) contemporary implications for insuring privacy in business. (shrink)
The topic of this book is 'creation'. It breaks down into discussions of two distinct, but interrelated, questions: what does the universe look like, and what is its origin? The opinions about creation considered by Norbert Samuelson come from the Hebrew scriptures, Greek philosophy, Jewish philosophy, and contemporary physics. His perspective is Jewish, liberal, and philosophical. It is 'Jewish' because the foundation of the discussion is biblical texts interpreted in the light of traditional rabbinic texts. It is 'philosophical' because the (...) subject matter is important in both past and present philosophical texts, and to Jewish philosophy in particular. Finally, it is 'liberal' because the authorities consulted include heterodox as well as orthodox Jewish sources. The ensuing discussion leads to original conclusions about a diversity of topics, including the limits of human reason and religious faith, and the relevance of scientific models to religious doctrine. (shrink)
This paper deals with the role of Judaism in Walter Benjamin's famous 1921 essay on violence and law, Zur Kritik der Gewalt. Despite the intense attention devoted to this essay, the role of Jewish myth in it has not yet been thoroughly explained. This study contends that the association between what Benjamin termed revolutionary violence and the Jewish messianic tradition, which plays a central role in the evaluation of Benjamin's text, is far more problematic than has hitherto been assumed, (...) and poses a serious challenge, which has not been fully examined in its historical context. Second, this essay claims that the subversive elements that many have supposedly found in Benjamin's text and the attempts to link these elements to messianic traditions are also unconvincing. Third, the paper contextualizes Benjamin's thought within the framework of the Jewish political–theological debate of the period. It contends that Benjamin's theory of law and justice should be understood not as a revolutionary, anti-republican text, as has been generally accepted, but as a secularized conservative orthodox one. In doing so, it seeks to shed light not only on Benjamin's early thinking and its influences, but also on the neglected element of Jewish orthodoxy within the broader topic of political theology. (shrink)
This article discusses the relationship between Christian and Jewish Orthodox women with their sacred books from a feminist point of view. While recent socio-economic changes have enabled women from an orthodox religious background to become financially independent and ultimately prosperous, from a religious perspective women’s status has not undergone major transformations. Using the cognitive principle of conceptual blending, I will focus on common aspects in OrthodoxJudaism and Christianity related to sacred texts as objects, in order (...) to shed light on the religious understanding of prosperity in the twenty-first century, beyond that of empowerment as financial gain or social status. The importance ascribed to authoritative texts both as images of divinity and sacred objects of veneration is a common trait of OrthodoxJudaism and Christianity. The gendered perception of the sacred is most prominent in two similar processions. Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday which celebrates the yearly reading cycle of the Torah, is actively celebrated only by men, who are the ones to carry the Torah scrolls. Similarly, the orthodox Good Friday procession involves a cross and the church’s copy of the Scripture together with the Holy Epitaph being carried only by men. The ban on women to carry sacred objects, at least at appointed times, as well as women’s responses in the two communities will be analysed comparatively to establish whether women commonly perceived as prosperous can make steps in order to re-evaluate the theological implications of this restriction. (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 OrthodoxJudaism, 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)
This paper focusses on the Rabbinic suggestion that the attitude of awe, rather than any particular belief, lies at the heart of religiosity. On the basis of these Rabbinic sources, and others, the paper puts forward three theses: (1) that belief is not a sufficiently absorbing epistemic attitude to bear towards the truths of religion; (2) that much of our religious knowledge isn’t mediated via belief; and (3) that make-believe is sometimes more important, in the cultivation of religiosity than is (...) mere belief. (shrink)
This article demonstrates that ritual plays an ambivalent role in the interaction between religion and violence. Ritual triggers and gives meaning to violence, or it enforces peace and coexistence. The first part of the article defines the ambivalence of ritual in the context of violence. The second part surveys standard rituals of peace and violence from Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The third part focuses on the ambivalent nature of Orthodox Christian rituals.
Le mouvement appelé Conservative ou massorti est le courant le plus florissant du judaïsme depuis le début du siècle aux États-Unis, d’où il s’est répandu en beaucoup de pays . Cherchant à se frayer une voie entre les tendances « réformée » et « orthodoxe », qui se sont affrontées en Allemagne depuis le milieu du XIXe siècle, puis aux Etats-Unis, ce courant est significatif des tensions et des évolutions qui traversent le judaïsme contemporain. Reprenant l'intuition fondamentale de Frankel, pour (...) qui la tradition est un dynamisme de changement, le Conservative entend garder l’identité juive dans la fidélité à la Halakha tout en lui permettant de s'adapter aux temps nouveaux. Mais comment tenir alors et garantir l'origine juive de la Halakha ? S'inspirant de Rosenzweig et de Buber, les théologiens du Conservative conçoivent la révélation comme l'expression de la Parole de Dieu dans l'histoire d'Israël, au présent ; comme un enseignement avant tout ordonné à l'action éthique et toujours en quête d'interprétation ; elle est véhiculée par l'histoire du peuple et son autorité réside dans la communauté . Ainsi se confirme l'évolution de ce mouvement vers des positions plus « libérales », qui ne manquent. pas de susciter bien des questions : qu’est-ce qui justifie l'obéissance à une tradition humaine, comment autoriser, discerner, imposer des changements de pratique ? À travers ces interrogations, le judaïsme apparaît comme la religion de l'incessante élaboration de la Loi.The most flourishing movement in Judaism since the beginning of century in the United States has been the Conservative or massorti. From there it spread to other countries, including France. Seeking a way between the « reform » and « orthodox » tendencies, which have been in conflict since the middle of 19th century in Germany, and subsequently in the United States, this continuing debate is indicative of the tensions and evolutions that traverse contemporary Judaism. Taking up the fundamental intuition of Frankel, for whom tradition of a dynamism of change, the Conservative wishes to keep a Jewish identity in fidelity to the Halakha, white allowing the possibility of adapting to modern times. But how can one maintain and guarantee the divine origin of the Halakha ? Inspired by Rosenzweig and Buber, the Conservative theologians see revelation as the expression of the Word of God in the history of Israel : in the present ; as conveyed by the history of a people, and whose authority resides in the community . The evolution of this movement towards more « liberal » positions is thus confirmed, but raises many questions: what justifies obedience to a human tradition, how can it authorize, discern, or impose changes of practice ? Through these interrogations, Judaism appears as a religion of unceasing elaboration of the Law. (shrink)
This article examines the cultural ways in which traditional Judaism understands the relationship between an individual and Divinity. The article shows that this understanding has deep gendered dimensions. Grounded in feminist critiques of theology, as well as in Jewish studies and cultural studies, the article shows that the conceptualization of God-person relationship, in both Orthodox and Kaballic Jewish streams, is based on a hierarchical division to three different spaces. These spaces are: Mitzvah, Grace, and Desire or Will. The (...) Mitzvah is perceived to be the highest space and is represented as 'manly'. The intermediate space-Grace-is represented as a 'good woman' or as 'mother'. This space is characterized by a sacred yearning, as well as by lack of stability and continuity, paralysis, and even death. The lowest space is the space of Desire and personal will, which is culturally represented by a child or a whore-woman. This space is characterized by an attitude of disregard, resistance and fear. The article demonstrates how this cultural division of Divinity in to three, contradicts the declared Jewish position that God/divinity is 'One, Sole and Unique', and points at the inherent need of genderless conceptualization of Divinity in Judaism. (shrink)
Gideon Freudenthal - The Radical Enlightenment of Solomon Maimon: Judaism, Heresy, and Philosophy - Journal of the History of Philosophy 45:4 Journal of the History of Philosophy 45.4 661-663 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Reviewed by Gideon Freudenthal Tel-Aviv University Abraham P. Socher. The Radical Enlightenment of Solomon Maimon: Judaism, Heresy, and Philosophy. Stanford Studies in Jewish History and Culture. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006. Pp. xiii + 248. Cloth $55.00. With few philosophers are life (...) and work so intimately connected as with Salomon Maimon. Born in 1753 in Lithuania and raised in an orthodox Jewish community, Maimon "pilgrimaged" at the age of twenty-five to Berlin, the capital of the Jewish Enlightenment. After some years of education in sciences and languages, Maimon produced, in less than ten years , a series of books and papers that today make up the seven volumes of his collected works. A.. (shrink)
L'A. se base sur deux oeuvres artistiques sur la Trinité qui se correspondent et qui soulèvent des questions sérieuses au sujet de la négociation chrétienne avec les autres religions. Ces deux oeuvres traitent de la Trinité en relation avec les autres traditions religieuses. Il s'agit de l'icône intitulée la Trinité de l'orthodoxe russe André Roublev qui date du 15siècle et de l'oeuvre contemporaine de l'artiste indien catholique romain Jyoti Sahi intitulée Abraham et Sarah recevant les trois anges. Par cette étude (...) comparative, l'A. souligne la richesse du Dieu trinitaire dans l'ouverture à la multiplicité des représentations du mystère infini. Ces représentations, visibles dans les créations, sont parfois le fruit de l'imagination des artistes et des théologiens, imagination qui est nécessaire. (shrink)
For two millennia calling oneself a Jew and confessing Jesus-Christ was perceived as nonsense. This is no longer the case. Jewish believers in Christ - “Messianics”, Catholics, Orthodox, and so forth - are now reclaiming their Jewish identity. Jewish Church is about imagining what their home in the Church would look like.
With the widening schism between Orthodox and non-Orthodox and secular Jews, Kellner addresses the timely issue of the future of Judaism in the context of the classical faith. Appends notes on Maimonides, other Jewish thinkers, and prayers. Distributed in the US by ISBS. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
Is OrthodoxJudaism committed to the existence of a Torah that pre-existed the world? This paper argues that Orthodoxy is so committed unless it can find compelling philosophical or theological reasons to reject the possibility of such an entity, and then to re-interpret allegorically all of the texts that speak of such a Torah. Providing an ontology of primordial texts, I argue that no compelling reason can be found to deny the existence of the primordial Torah.
Friedrich Nietzsche is as often misunderstood as the Jews. Ben Moshe highlights Nietzsches admiration for the Jews of the Bible, and looks into the remarkable similarity between many of Nietzsche's writings and Jewish sacred texts.
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 OrthodoxJudaism, 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)
Investigating an actual case that occurred in a New York state hospital where an Orthodox Jewish patient’s legal proxy demands that the clinicians and hospital administrators should provide aggressive treatment with all available technological resources for the seemingly brain-dead patient with a medically futile condition. The authors argue that a health care policy or regulation should be developed to limit patient’s access to technology in critical care. Otherwise, we will be allowing society to issue a carte blanche to religious (...) autonomy by technology abuse. It is argued that religious autonomy should be restricted when its demand exhibits apparent logical absurdity and/or goes against the common survival of the entire population. (shrink)
The 1981 Uniform Determination of Death Act established the validity of both cardio-respiratory and neurological criteria of death. However, many religious traditions including most forms of Haredi Judaism and many varieties of Buddhism strongly disagree with death by neurological criteria. Only one state in the U.S., New Jersey, allows for both religious exemptions to DNC and provides continuation of health insurance coverage when an exception is invoked in its 1991 Declaration of Death Act. There is yet no quantitative or (...) qualitative data on the frequencies of religious exemptions in New Jersey. This study gathered information about the frequency of religious exemptions and policy in New Jersey that was created out of respect for religious beliefs. Literature and internet searches on topics related to religious objections to DNC were conducted. Fifty-three chaplains and heads of bioethics committees in New Jersey hospitals were contacted by phone or email requesting a research interview. Respondents answered a set of questions about religious exemptions to DNC at the hospital where they worked that explored the frequency of such religious exemptions in the past five years, the religious tradition indicated, and whether any request for a religious exemption had been denied. This study was approved by the Northeastern University Institutional Review Board. Eighteen chaplains and bioethics committee members participated in a full research interview. Of these, five reported instances of religious exemptions to DNC occurring at the hospital at which they worked for a total of approximately 30–36 known exemptions in the past five years. Families sought religious exemptions because of faith in an OrthodoxJudaism tradition and nonreligious reasons. No failed attempts to obtain an exemption were reported. Religious exemptions to DNC in New Jersey do occur, although very infrequently. Prior to this study, there was no information on their frequency. Considering religious exemptions do occur, there is a need for national or state policies that addresses both religious objections to DNC and hospital resources. More information is needed to better understand the impact of granting religious exemptions before new policy can be established. (shrink)
Providing a concise but comprehensive overview of Joseph B. Soloveitchik's larger philosophical program, this book studies one of the most important modern Orthodox Jewish thinkers. It incorporates much relevant biographical, philosophical, religious, legal, and historical background so that the content and difficult philosophical concepts are easily accessible. The volume describes his view of Jewish law and how he answers the fundamental question of Jewish philosophy, namely, the "reasons" for the commandments. It shows how many of his disparate books, essays, (...) and lectures on law, specific commandments, and Jewish religious phenomenology can be woven together to form an elegant philosophical program. It also provides an analysis and summary of Soloveitchik's views on Zionism and on interreligious dialogue and the contexts for Soloveitchik's respective stances on issues that were pressing in his role as a leader of a major branch of post-war OrthodoxJudaism. The book provides a synoptic overview of the philosophical works of Joseph B. Soloveitchik. It will be of interest to historians and scholars studying neo-Kantian philosophy, Jewish thought, and philosophy of religion. (shrink)
New methods of brain analysis show that in remaining conscious after their necks are cut, animals suffer extreme agony. In the United States, the Humane Slaughter Act mandates that animals be stunned before being cut in order to avoid that suffering, yet OrthodoxJudaism mandates that animals remain conscious throughout. The Netherlands requires that animals be stunned if they are still conscious 40 seconds after being cut, mediating religious and animal-rights interests. The United States should reexamine religious exemptions (...) to humane slaughter laws given new brain analysis capabilities, and the Dutch government’s compromise could serve as a model. (shrink)
The article examines the Finnish branch of Chabad Lubavitch as a fundamentalist and charismatic movement that differs from other branches of ultra-OrthodoxJudaism in its approaches to outreach to non-observant Jews. Whilst introducing the history of Chabad Lubavitch in Finland and drawing on historical and archival sources, the authors locate the movement in a contemporary context and draw on 101 semi-structured qualitative interviews of members of the Finnish Jewish communities, who either directly or indirectly have been in contact (...) with representatives of Chabad Finland. The material is examined through the theoretical concept of ‘vicarious religion’. As the results of the article show, whilst Chabad very much adheres to certain fundamentalist approaches in Jewish religious practice, in Finland they follow a somewhat different approach. They strongly rely on people’s sense of Jewish identification and Jewish identity. Individuals in the community ‘consume’ Chabad’s activities vicariously, ‘belong without believing’ or ‘believe in belonging’ but do not feel the need to apply stricter religious observance. Whilst many of them are critical of Chabad and their activities, they do acknowledge that Chabad fills the ‘gaps’ in and outside the Jewish Community of Helsinki, predominantly by creating new activities for some of its members. (shrink)
Judaic Logic is an original inquiry into the forms of thought determining Jewish law and belief, from the impartial perspective of a logician. Judaic Logic attempts to honestly estimate the extent to which the logic employed within Judaism fits into the general norms, and whether it has any contributions to make to them. The author ranges far and wide in Jewish lore, finding clear evidence of both inductive and deductive reasoning in the Torah and other books of the Bible, (...) and analyzing the methodology of the Talmud and other Rabbinic literature by means of formal tools which make possible its objective evaluation with reference to scientific logic. The result is a highly innovative work – incisive and open, free of clichés or manipulation. Judaic Logic succeeds in translating vague and confusing interpretative principles and examples into formulas with the clarity and precision of Aristotelean syllogism. Among the positive outcomes, for logic in general, are a thorough listing, analysis and validation of the various forms of a-fortiori argument, as well as a clarification of dialectic logic. However, on the negative side, this demystification of Talmudic/Rabbinic modes of thought (hermeneutic and heuristic) reveals most of them to be, contrary to the boasts of orthodox commentators, far from deductive and certain. They are often, legitimately enough, inductive. But they are also often unnatural and arbitrary constructs, supported by unverifiable claims and fallacious techniques. Many other thought-processes, used but not noticed or discussed by the Rabbis, are identified in this treatise, and subjected to logical review. Various more or less explicit Rabbinic doctrines, which have logical significance, are also examined in it. In particular, this work includes a formal study of the ethical logic (deontology) found in Jewish law, to elicit both its universal aspects and its peculiarities. With regard to Biblical studies, one notable finding is an explicit formulation (which, however, the Rabbis failed to take note of and stress) of the principles of adduction in the Torah, written long before the acknowledgement of these principles in Western philosophy and their assimilation in a developed theory of knowledge. Another surprise is that, in contrast to Midrashic claims, the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) contains a lot more than ten instances of qal vachomer (a-fortiori) reasoning. In sum, Judaic Logic elucidates and evaluates the epistemological assumptions which have generated the Halakhah (Jewish religious jurisprudence) and allied doctrines. Traditional justifications, or rationalizations, concerning Judaic law and belief, are carefully dissected and weighed at the level of logical process and structure, without concern for content. This foundational approach, devoid of any critical or supportive bias, clears the way for a timely reassessment of orthodoxJudaism (and incidentally, other religious systems, by means of analogies or contrasts). Judaic Logic ought, therefore, to be read by all Halakhists, as well as Bible and Talmud scholars and students; and also by everyone interested in the theory, practise and history of logic. (shrink)
Few clinical situations arouse more emotion and drama and lead to more conflict in decision-making than cardio-pulmonary resuscitation . The procedure was described as potentially beneficial more than 40 years ago. However, its efficacy and place in the care of the frail elderly have taken a long time to be established. In the world of secular medical practice, there are many situations when CPR may be provided to elderly, frail and cognitively compromised individuals for whom its clinical benefit is questionable. (...) In those patients suffering from dementia, surrogates are responsible for decision-making, which complicates the process. When the clinical uncertainty is coupled with strong cultural and religious influences, as within OrthodoxJudaism, the development of an acceptable approach to cardiac arrest is more challenging. A clinically sound, ethically defensible and religiously sensitive approach to CPR requires a deep understanding of all the factors involved in the decision-making process and may require periodic re-evaluation not only by clinicians but by religious scholars and leaders. (shrink)
Max Ungar (1850-1930) was born in Boskovice, Moravia, and pursued an academic career in mathematics at Vienna University [Franz Brentano was one of his examiners]. His memoirs describe his escape from OrthodoxJudaism into a century of high liberalism and the turning to science and knowledge and his failure to achieve the humanism that he was devoted to as a result of anti-Semitism. Although he wrote his memoirs chronologically, there is a recognisable leitmotif: on the one hand his (...) escape from OrthodoxJudaism into a century of high liberalism and the turning to science and knowledge; while on the other hand it charts his failure as a devotee of the humanism he was dedicated to as result of his pursuit of science and knowledge. In this respect Max Ungar’s reminiscences written in 1928 but covering the period 1855 – 1892/1928 are particularly significant for their overlapping topics: for its Jewish history during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in the 19th century and for the portrayal of identity in the modern period. He concentrates on important events in his life, passing the matura/school exam. Helping in his father's business. Falling in love, keeping the engagement a secret, while at university. His time at university and his love of mathematics. Also the academic intrigues and pettiness - not much has changed. Then leaving academic life and working in the business. Trying to get back into academia 5 years later, but without success. His home life, travels with family, visiting friends, information about his wider family: who married whom, how they met, who died, etc. Stories from the business. The difficult relationship with his father. His critical stance towards Judaism. He also relates incidents of anti-semitism in business but also at university. This is the first translation of Ungar’s memoir into English (originally written in German) - translated by Miroslav Imbrisevic. The book is free to download. (shrink)
The contemporary world is witness to an intense, sometimes violent controversy about secularism. These trends have been exacerbated by the emergence of fundamentalism, which challenges the secular society and the secularization of philosophical ideas and ethical values. Paul Kurtz has been personally involved in the campaign for secularism throughout his career as a philosopher. This book reflects his participation in this battle and extends his thinking to new areas. Secularists maintain that the state should not impose a religious creed on (...) its citizens and that it should respect freedom of conscience, the right to believe or disbelieve in the prevailing orthodoxy. This right is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Rights of Man enunciated in the French Revolution. Many powerful religious institutions including Islam, Hinduism, Protestant Fundamentalism, conservative Roman Catholicism or OrthodoxJudaism, and others do not accept this principle. And many totalitarian countries that claim to be secular nevertheless seek to impose a kind of doctrinaire ideological uniformity, often equivalent to a religious creed. Kurtz is perhaps best known for his Humanist Manifesto II. Here he takes it to a new level, arguing that secularism today needs to be allied to the emergence of democratic institutions that respect individual freedom andthe pluralistic society. He argues that a defense of secularism entails a defense of the civic virtues of democracy, which include the toleration of dissent and alternative lifestyles and the willingness to negotiate differences.Naturally how this develops is relative to the socio-cultural context in which it emerges. Consequently, secularism will take different forms in different societies, and the term multi-secularism best describes that. Many people believe that it is impossible to maintain a moral order without the support of religion. Kurtz vigorously denies that, and this volume attempts to explicate the values and principles of secular morality, which he sees as the cornerstone of the open democratic society. (shrink)
Literature discloses beliefs, cultural values, myths and ideologies which reveal concepts of morality of the environments when and where it was produced. This article proposes to investigate male and female characters in different literatures to analyze the female figure and the maternal cry in the Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic literature. Rabbinical Hebrew literature teaches social practices through traditions. This context reveals the development of gender archetypes from the Hebrew Bible and in the rabbinical Hebrew literature universe of the Orthodox (...)Judaism, which determines social patterns from religious specific sexist models. The purpose of this article is to expose the maternal cry in the Hebrew Bible and in the rabbinical exegesis; revealing that men are progenitors and women should be instinctively maternal, because having children is the central feminine role. The research carried out wants to prompt the reflection about the symbolism of the maternal crying as a sacred suffering, as an altruistic act, which in many religions, doctrines and cultures transcend the motherhood itself perceived as sacrifice. (shrink)
Since the Internet's breakthrough as a mass medium, it has become a topic of discussion because of its implications for society. At one extreme, one finds those who only see great benefits and consider the Internet a tool for freedom, commerce, connectivity, and other societal benefits. At the other extreme, one finds those who lament the harms and disadvantages of the Internet, and who consider it a grave danger to existing social structures and institutions, to culture, morality and human relations. (...) In between one finds the majority, those who recognize both benefits and harms in the Internet as it currently exists and who recognize its usefulness while worrying about some of its negative impacts.As an example of a positive appraisal of the Internet, consider what Esther Dyson, one of the early enthusiasts for the Internet, states in her book Release 2.0. There, she claims: "The Net offers us a chance to take charge of our own lives and to redefine our role as citizens of local communities and of a global society. It also hands us the responsibility to govern ourselves, to think for ourselves, to educate our children, to do business honestly, and to work with fellow citizens to design rules we want to live by.". Dyson argues that the Internet offers us the chance to build exciting communities of likeminded individuals, enables people to redefine their work as they see fit, fosters truth-telling and information disclosure, helps build trust between people, and can function for people as a second home.For a negative appraisal, consider the opinion of the Council of Torah Sages, a group of leading orthodox rabbis in Israel who in 2000 issued a ruling banning the Internet from Jewish homes. The Council claimed that the Internet is "1,000 times more dangerous than television". The Council described the Internet as "the world's leading cause of temptation" and "a deadly poison which burns souls" that "incites and encourages sin and abomination of the worst kind." The Council explained that it recognized benefits in the Internet, but saw no way of balancing these with the potential cost, which they defined as exposure to "moral pollution" and possible addiction to Internet use that could quash the motivation to learn Torah, especially among children. Even the greatest critics of the Internet, like the Council of Torah Sages, see benefits in the technology, and even the greatest advocates recognize that there are drawbacks to the medium. People have different opinions on what the benefits and disadvantages are and also differ in the way in which they balance them against each other. Underlying these different assessments of the Internet are different value systems. Esther Dyson holds a libertarian value system in which the maximization of individual freedom, property rights and free market capitalism are central values. Her positive assessment of the Internet is based on the potential she sees in this technology to promote these values. In contrast, the values Council of Torah Sages are values of Hareidi, a variety of orthodoxJudaism, according to which the highest good is obedience to God's law as laid out in the Torah, and they concluded, based on these values, that the Internet is harmful.Yet, it is not just differences in value systems that determine one's appraisal of a technology like the Internet. Such an appraisal is also determined by one's empirical understanding of how the technology works and what its consequences or implications are. People often come to unduly positive or negative appraisals of technology because they assess its consequences wrongly. For instance, some people believe that Internet use increases the likelihood of social isolation, but empirical research could conceivably show that in fact the opposite is the case. Disagreements about the positive and negative aspects of the internet may therefore be either normative disagreements or empirical disagreements. Of course, it is not always easy to disentangle values and empirical facts, as these are often strongly interwoven.Next to contested benefits and harms of the Internet, there are also perceived harms and benefits that are fairly broadly acknowledged. For instance, nearly everyone agrees that the Internet has the benefit of making a large amount of useful information easily available, and nearly everyone agrees that the Internet can also be harmful by making dangerous, libelous and hateful information available. People have shared values and shared empirical beliefs by which they can come to such collective assessments.My purpose in this essay is to contribute to a better understanding of existing positive and negative appraisals of the Internet, as a first step towards a more methodical assessment of Internet technology. My focus will be on the appraisal of social and cultural implications of the Internet. Whether we like it or not, policy towards the Internet is guided by beliefs about its social and cultural benefits and harms. It is desirable, therefore, to have methods for making such beliefs explicit in order to analyze the values and empirical claims that are presupposed in them.In the next two sections, I will catalogue major perceived social and cultural benefits and harms of the Internet, that have been mentioned frequently in public discussions and academic studies. I will focus on perceived benefits and harms that do not seem to rest on idiosyncratic values, meaning that they seem to rest on values that are shared by most people. For instance, most people believe that individual autonomy is good, so if it can be shown that a technology enhances individual autonomy, most people would agree that this technology has this benefit. Notice, however, that even when they share this value, people may disagree on the benefits of the technology in question, because they may have different empirical beliefs on whether the technology actually enhanced individual autonomy.Cataloguing such perceived cultural benefits and harms is, I believe, an important first step towards a social and cultural technology assessment of the Internet and its various uses. An overview of perceived benefits and harms may provide a broader perspective on the Internet that could be to the benefit of both friends and foes, and can contribute to a better mutual understanding between them. More importantly, it provides a potential starting point for a reasoned and methodical analysis of benefits and harms. Ideas on how such an analysis may be possible, in light of the already mentioned facts that assessments are based on different value systems, will be developed in section 4. In a concluding section, I sketch the prospects for a future social and cultural technology assessment of the Internet. (shrink)
This is a study of what Spinoza intended to be the refutation of orthodoxJudaism, and indeed, of all religious orthodoxy. The recovery of that refutation, as Strauss illustrates in his preface to this translation, is needed by theology because the progressive liberalization of religion has now reached the point where theology is hardly able to distinguish itself from sundry civil moralities. Owing to this beginning, both in its plan and execution this study has little in common with (...) historical studies of the origin of religious liberalism. Part I distinguishes the classical or Epicurean critique of religion, which did not entail enlightenment, from the modern critique, whose origin Strauss finds in Hobbes. Part II examines Spinoza's critique of orthodoxy, the critique of Calvin, the teaching on the relation between religion and politics, and the concept of Bible criticism. Since Strauss' guiding concern is to discover whether the critique of orthodoxy can be met from the grounds of orthodoxy, he takes great care to specify precisely the assumptions of each argument and the belief against which it is directed. When completed, this effort becomes the articulation of the conflict between reason and revelation. That conflict is shown as it is understood by each side, and Strauss assesses the vulnerability of each to the other.—H. C. (shrink)
The publication of Angelova A. «Conception of “spiritual eldering” of Z. Schachter-Shalomi» is devoted to research gerontosophy ideas of one of the leaders of the World Jewish renewal movement. The organic combination of orthodoxJudaism, Kabbalah and Hasidism, as well as Christian, Eastern and Sufi mysticism engendered very actual doctrine of “spiritual eldering” to the modern world. Promoting, translating texts of Jewish thinker and reformer Z. Schachter in Ukraine and neighbour countries will help to improve difficult gerontological situation (...) of today´s world, to go beyond negative stereotypes of perception of old age and aging. (shrink)
Assuming that all cultures have gender roles, religion affects women differently than men. What have Catholic women’s religious lives, roles, and images been like? Although all women share a common experience of being women, differences of class, race, religion, culture, and sexual orientation separate them, and therefore taking into account women’s experiences and views can be a difficult task in complex religious contexts. Religious practices have different significance to men and women and their engagement is different. In foraging and horticultural (...) societies, women and men have more egalitarian and complementary roles and women play significant roles in religion – while in agrarian societies the situation is quite different. Large denominations such as Roman Catholicism, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and OrthodoxJudaism are strongly against the ordination of women to sacramental ministry. Catholic women are left with a God with whom they cannot identify and who cannot identify with them. (shrink)
The late Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld possessed the enviable ability to relate to a wide range of people. The genuineness of his caring for others, his rock-solid convictions and fluent expression created a magnetic personality few could resist. His ch.