Explores central questions in the history and theory of Jewish ethics, namely, the relationship between ethics and law, the relationship between ethics and theology, and the problems and prospects for constructing a contemporary Jewish ethic.
Past Imperatives explores the nature and development of Jewish ethics by analyzing three important sets of issues: the relationship between Jewish law and ethics, the relationship between Jewish ethics and theology, and the problems and prospects for constructing a contemporary Jewish ethic. The penetrating and provocative essays are drawn from a number of fields, including legal theory, literary theory, and theory of religion. These studies illuminate many previously uninvestigated aspects of Jewish biomedical ethics, covenant theology, and textual interpretation in Judaism.
By exploring these issues within the larger context of historical and theoretical work in religious studies, Past Imperatives moves beyond previous work in Jewish ethics, which has largely sought to offer moral guidance from a Jewish perspective. This volume boldly confronts the fact that Judaism encompasses many, sometimes contradictory, ethical perspectives and investigates their theological underpinnings, how they have developed, and how they differ from other moral and/or religious perspectives.
Louis E. Newman is Professor of Religion and Director of the Judaic Studies Program at Carleton College. He is coeditor of Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality.
"…Past Imperatives [is] an exciting and profound work." — International Studies in Psychology
"This book brings a fresh and broad perspective to a whole range of important topics, which heretofore had been discussed either very dogmatically or within narrow frames of reference. Newman's perspective offers the rare combination of competent study of rabbinic texts with sound philosophical knowledge and method." — Noam Zohar, Bar Ilan University
"Past Imperatives will quickly become the most important methodological study of Jewish ethics in English." — David Novak, University of Toronto