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Is Natural Law a Border Concept Between Judaism and Christianity?

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

With the passing of disputations between Jewish and Christian thinkers as to whose tradition has a more universal ethics, the task of Jewish and Christian ethicists is to constitute a universal horizon for their respective bodies of ethics, both of which are essentially particularistic being rooted in special revelation. This parallel project must avoid relativism that is essentially anti-ethical, and triumphalism that proposes an imperialist ethos. A retrieval of the idea of natural law in each respective tradition enables the constitution of some intelligent common ground for ethical cooperation in both theory and practice between the traditions. This essay also suggests how the constitution of this common ground could include Muslims as well. The constitution of this common ground enables religious ethicists to present more cogent ethical arguments in secular space, but only of course, when those who now control secular space are open to arguments from members of any religious tradition.

Keywords: border concept; ethics; general revelation; halakhah; natural law; special revelation; universal

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9795.2004.00164.x

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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