- 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 explores the medieval genre of sifrut ha-musar (ethical literature), which has largely been ignored in the recent burgeoning of the field of Jewish ethics. This neglect is attributed to the fact that the genre does not call halakhah into question, as does Jewish ethics generally, particularly through the notion of lifnim mi-shurat ha-din (supererogation), that one must act beyond the letter of the law. But this does not mean that musar is non-ethical; rather, its purpose was to “harmonize the spirituality of God with the values guiding his worship.” This spiritualization of Jewish ritual and culture generated creativity for nearly a thousand years around the Jewish world, first in Islamic contexts and then climaxing in Christian milieus.
Joseph Dan (Ph.D. Hebrew University, 1964) is the Gershom Scholem Professor of Kabbalah, Emeritus, in the Department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Winner of the Israel Prize in Jewish Thought (1997), his many books include The Heart and the Fountain: Jewish Mystical Experiences, The Early Kabbalah, and The Teachings of Hasidism.
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