Tag Archives: talmud-midrash

Judaism is Not A Messianic Religion (Jacob Neusner)

Jacob Neusner’s Messiah in Context: Israel’s History and Destiny in Formative Judaism should sheds a lot of critical light on the question of messianism that should be of cutting interest to anyone who works in the fields of modern Jewish … Continue reading

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Virtue Ethics & Aesthetic Subordination (Jonathan Schofer)(Avot de Rabbi Natan)

  Jonathan Schofer is without doubt among the most insightful and sensitive theorists writing about Jewish ethics mixing perspectives drawn from rabbinic source material and contemporary philosophy. His starting point is character or virtue ethics. The Making of A Sage: … Continue reading

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Un/Natural Law & the Rabbis (Christine Hayes)

Christine Hayes puts the kibosh on the notion that there is a recognition of natural law in “Judaism.” She is, of course, careful to draw her analysis closely around a circumscribed group of sources. While arguably most medieval and a … Continue reading

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What’s Divine About Divine Law is Human (Divorced from Reason, Truth, & Stasis) (Christine Hayes)

Oddly enough, so-called divine law for the rabbis has all the characteristics that Greco-Roman thinkers ascribed to positive (i.e. human) law but which they (the Greco-Roman thinkers) denied to divine-natural law. This would boil down to the capacity of law … Continue reading

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A Basic Question re: Jewish Ethics

Is Jewish ethics first Jewish philosophy? Does it even exist? These are serious questions. Philosophically, I have always had doubts about the Jewish ethical project particularly in its most one-sided expression. Maybe the skepticism had and has to do with … Continue reading

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(Horizontal) Demonic Desires (Ishay Rosen-Zvi_

A few quick notes on Demonic Desires: “Yetzer Hara” and the Problem of Evil in Late Antiquity. Like all scholars of rabbinics, Rosen-Zvi parses carefully through tannaitic, mishnaic, amoraic, and post-amoraic sources. This is my general takeaway. 1] The yetzer  (translated … Continue reading

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(Don’t Be Like Moses) Politics & Compromise in the Talmud (Judah b. Korha)

In the current political climate, these words made a lot of sense the other day in the synagogue. Instead of righteous prophetic truth telling, instead of Moses and the law of strict justice that “cuts through mountains,” there’s Aaron, the … Continue reading

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