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date: 24 September 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews ethical concepts in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh). Fear of God (yir'at Elohim) is perhaps the most pervasive and powerful notion inspiring social concern and behaviour. The Bible contains multiple ways to motivate people to do what is right and good—ways that are championed by later contributors to Jewish ethical theories. The chapter discusses motivations for ethical behaviour in the Torah; the prophets' views on ethics; works within the “Writings” (Ketuvim) section of the Hebrew Bible; outlooks on human nature and free will; and universal standards for ethical behaviour.

Keywords: biblical ethics, ethical thinking, fear of God, Tanakh, religion, ethical behaviour, Torah

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