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Rethinking Ethics in the Light of Jewish Thought and the Life Sciences

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Abstract:

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 Jewish ethics 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 Jewish ethics back to its real roots: covenantal relationship, and moral wisdom and discernment.

Keywords: Jewish ethics; adultery; assisted reproduction; biblical ethics; evolutionary psychology; law; mysticism; natural philosophy; postmodernism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/0384-9694.00078

Publication date: 2001-06-01

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