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Jewish Ethics: Some Basic Concepts and Impressions

  • Broadcast in Judaism
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Most subsequent Jewish ethical claims may be traced back to the texts, themes, and teachings of the written Torah. In early rabbinic Judaism, the oral Torah both interpreted the Hebrew Bible and engaged in novel topics. Ethics is a key aspect of this legal literature, known as the literature of halakhah.

Jewish ethics is the moral philosophy particular to one or both of the Jewish religion and peoples. Serving as a convergence of Judaism and the Western philosophical tradition of ethics, the diverse literature of Jewish ethics' broad range of moral concern classifies it as a type of normative ethics. For two millennia, Jewish thought has focused on the interplay of ethics with the rule of law. The tradition of rabbinic religious law - Halakhah - addresses several problems associated with ethics, including its semi-permeable relation with duties that are usually not punished under the law.

Jewish ethics may be said to originate with the Hebrew Bible, its broad legal injunctions, advisory narratives, and prophecies. 

The best known rabbinic text associated with ethics is the non-legal Mishnah tractate of Avot (“forefathers”), commonly translated as “Ethics of the Fathers”. Similar ethical teachings are found throughout more legally oriented portions of the Mishnah, Talmud, and other rabbinic literature.

Generally, ethics is a key aspect of non-legal rabbinic literature, known as aggadah. This early Rabbinic ethics shows signs of ideological and polemical exchange with the Greek (Western philosophical) ethical tradition. ~ Courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_ethics