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A Jewish Modified Divine Command Theory

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ABSTRACT

We claim that divine command metaethicists have not thought through the nature of the expression of divine love with sufficient rigor. We argue, against prior divine command theories, that the radical difference between God and the natural world means that grounding divine command in divine love can only ground a formal claim of the divine on the human; recipients of revelation must construct particular commands out of this formal claim. While some metaethicists might respond to us by claiming that this account leads to an inability to judge between better and worse constructions of the commanded life, we propose that an analysis of the human response to divine love—theological eros—can be the basis for an articulation of a philosophical theology (in our case, negative theology) that can guide the religious believer toward generating particular principles for ethical action that are grounded in an account of divine action. By linking divine command to imitatio Dei, the believer can have confidence that her imitative acts of God are not inaccurate constructions of the commanded life.
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Keywords: Maimonides; Novak; Rosenzweig; divine command; natural law; pragmatism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-06-01

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