- For our wives
- Introduction: Why Study Jewish Ethics?
- Jewish Ethical Theories
- Ethical Theory and Practice in the Hebrew Bible
- Ethical Theories in Rabbinic Literature
- Ethical Theories in Jewish Mystical Writings
- Ethical Theories among Medieval Jewish Philosophers
- Spinoza and Jewish Ethics
- Mussar Ethics and Other Nineteenth-Century Jewish Ethical Theories
- Ethical Theories of Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, and Martin Buber
- Ethical Theories of Mordecai Kaplan and Abraham Joshua Heschel
- Ethical Theories of Abraham Isaac Kook and Joseph B. Soloveitchik
- Ethical Implications of the Holocaust
- Ethical Theories in the Reform Movement
- Ethical Theories in the Conservative Movement
- Ethical Theories in the Orthodox Movement
- Ethical Theories in the Reconstructionist Movement
- Feminist Jewish Ethical Theories
- Postmodern Jewish Ethical Theories
- Topics in Jewish Morals
- Jewish Bioethics: The Beginning of Life
- Jewish Bioethics: The End of Life
- Jewish Bioethics: The Distribution of Health Care
- Jewish Bioethics: Current and Future Issues in Genetics
- Jewish Business Ethics
- Jewish Sexual Ethics
- Jewish Environmental Ethics: Intertwining Adam with Adamah
- Jewish Animal Ethics
- Jewish Ethics of Speech
- Jewish Political Ethics in America
- Jewish Political Ethics in Israel
- Judaism and Criminal Justice
- Jewish Ethics and War
- BIBLICAL SOURCES: RABBINIC AND SELECTED MEDIEVAL CITATIONS
- SUBJECT INDEX
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the thoughts of the most significant and influential theologians in American Jewish religious life, Mordecai Kaplan and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Emerging from the pragmatism and naturalism of the early decades of the century, Kaplan fostered a fascination with humanity that led him to eschew traditional Judaism's theocentric views of morality. For him, it would be better to understand Judaism as a civilization—no better and no worse than others—and jettison mitzvoth (commandments) in favour of “folkways” so as to inspire social behaviour, for it is through the folk themselves that morality comes into being. Heschel, by contrast, favours a more mystical and theocentric approach. For him the prophets best articulated the apocalyptic dangers of even the smallest immorality and the need to rise above human communities to root morality in God's will for us.
Matthew LaGrone is the Yetta Chaiken Teaching Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware’s Jewish Studies Program. He received his B.A. from the University of Alabama, M.A. from the Florida State University, and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. His scholarship focuses on “Atlantic” Judaism and Jewish–Christian relations, and he is presently writing the first biography of Chief Rabbi Joseph Hertz.
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