The central aim of this book is to attempt to determine the response of the classic texts of Jewish traditions to the famous dilemma posed in Plato's Euthyphro: Does God freely determine morality, or is morality independent of God?
The author argues that the picture that emerges from Jewish texts is significantly more complex and nuanced than most of the contemporary Jewish philosophical literature is prepared to concede. While providing an extensive discussion of the perspective of Jewish tradition on divine command ethics, this book develops a position that is distinct from and critical of other views that have recently been advanced in Jewish scholarship. At the same time, the book provides a substantial analysis of some Christian perspectives on divine command ethics. Relevant biblical, rabbinic and later Jewish texts are discussed, as well as some of the relevant views that have been taken in philosophical literature and in Christian and Jewish thought.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Divine Command Theory and the Shared Moral Universe of God and Humanity: The Analytical Framework of the Project 2. Analytical Discussion of Positions on DCT and SMU in Philosophy and Contemporary Jewish Thought 3. Biblical Texts 4. SMU: Rabbinic Texts and Concepts and Post-Talmudic Rabbinic Thought 5. Divine Command Theory in the Texts of Jewish Tradition 6. The Akedah: Genesis 22 and DCT/SMU 7. DCT/SMU and the Commandment to Wipe Out Amalek
Michael J. Harris has been Rabbi of the Hampstead Synagogue, London since 1995. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His main areas of interest are Jewish studies, philosophy of religion, and moral philosophy.
'An admirable book, which is particularly recommended for those who are interested in traditional Jewish responses to philosophical questions.' - Jewish Chronicle
'This book should certainly be required reading for anyone interested in Jewish attitudes towards the Euthyphro question. It makes a large collection of relevant traditional texts available and understandable, even to an audience unaquainted with rabbinic literature.' - Religious Studies