A Short History of Jewish Ethics: Conduct and Character in the Context of Covenant

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9781405189415: A Short History of Jewish Ethics: Conduct and Character in the Context of Covenant

A Short History of Jewish Ethics traces the development of Jewish moral concepts and ethical reflection from its Biblical roots to the present day. 

  • Offers an engaging and thoughtful account of Jewish ethics
  • Brings together and discusses a broad range of historical sources covering two millennia of writings and conversations
  • Combines current scholarship with original insights
  • Written by a major internationally recognized scholar of Jewish philosophy and ethics

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What exactly do we mean by "Jewish ethics"? A Short History of Jewish Ethics traces the development of Jewish moral concepts and ethical reflection from their origins in the Hebrew Bible through to the present day.

In this engaging and unique introduction, Alan Mittleman explores Jewish moral concepts through Jewish historical sources, beginning with the Bible and then looking at the Hellenistic Jewish synthesis of biblical thought and Greek philosophy. He covers various types of classical rabbinic, medieval philosophical, and popular pietistic literature,  then turns to modern Jewish thought,  traditional Jewish work on ethics in the modern period, and  contemporary Jewish ethics. Mittleman contends that Jewish ethics is centrally concerned to reflect on the relationship between conduct and character, against the theological background of the concept of covenant. From Moses to Maimonides to modern figures such as Emmanuel Levinas, A Short History of Jewish Ethics offers fascinating insights into the evolution of the historical voices and writings that remain woven into the fabric of contemporary Jewish consciousness.

About the Author:

Alan Mittleman is Professor of Jewish Thought at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. His books include Hope in a Democratic Age (2009) and The Scepter Shall Not Depart from Judah (2000). Mittleman's work seeks to bring Jewish thought into a constructive conversation with ethics, political theory, and philosophy of religion.

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