Love Thy Neighbour As Thyself

Love Thy Neighbour As Thyself

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Description

In this book, Lenn E. Goodman writes about the commandment to "love thy neighbor as thyself" from the standpoint of Judaism, a topic and perspective that have not often been joined before. Goodman addresses two big questions: What does that command ask of us? and what is its basis? Drawing extensively on Jewish sources, both biblical and rabbinic, he fleshes out the cultural context and historical shape taken on by this Levitical commandment. In so doing, he restores the richness of its material content to this core articulation of our moral obligations, which often threatens to sink into vacuity as a mere nostrum or rhetorical formula. Goodman argues against the notion that we have this obligation simply because God demands it -- a position that too readily makes ethics seem arbitrary, relativistic, dogmatic, authoritarian, contingent or just unpalatable. Rather he proposes that we learn much about how we ought to think about God from what we know about morals. He shows that natural reasoning and appeals to scripture, tradition, and revelation reinforce one another in ethical deliberation. For Goodman, ethics and theology are not worlds apart connected only by a kind of narrow one-way passage; the two realms of discourse can and should inform each other. Engaging the philosophers, including Aristotle, Spinoza, and Kant, and assembling three-thousand years worth of Jewish textual masterpieces, Goodman skillfully weaves his Gifford Lectures, which he delivered in 2005, into an indispensable work.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 162.56 x 228.6 x 22.86mm | 521.63g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195328825
  • 9780195328820
  • 2,022,438

Review quote

Goodman's synthesis of Jewish values is formidable. His erudition, lucid prose, and courageous insistence on the ultimacy of human choice embarrass ignorance and undermine dogmatism of any stripe. And were not this sufficient, Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself also indicates that although the encounter of traditional religion with natural science generates more headlines and dazzling fireworks, that encounter pales in comparison to the urgent problem of reconciling confessional religious loyalty with the democratic principle of religious pluralism. In these desperate times of growing xenophobia and totalitarianism, both secular and religious, Goodman's humanistic plea for love and open-minded contemplation on the things of others is more necessary and welcome than ever. * Kalman P. Bland, author of The Artless Jew: Medeival and Modern Affirmations and Denials of the Visual *show more

About Lenn E. Goodman

Lenn E. Goodman is Professor of Philosophy and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. His books include On Justice: An Essay in Jewish Philosophy, God of Abraham, Judaism, Human Rights and Human Values, and In Defense of Truth: A Pluralist Approachshow more

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