Duty and Healing: Foundations of a Jewish Bioethic, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Duty and Healing

Foundations of a Jewish Bioethic, 1st Edition

By Benjamin Freedman


360 pages

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pub: 1999-05-12
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"Duty and Healing" positions ethical issues commonly encountered in clinical situations within Jewish law. The concept of duty is significant in exploring bioethical issues, and this book presents an authentic and non-parochial Jewish approach to bioethics, while it includes critiques of both current secular and Jewish literatures.

Among the issues the book explores are the role of family in medical decision-making, the question of informed consent as a personal religious duty, and the responsibilities of caretakers. The exploration of contemporary ethical problems in healthcare through the lens of traditional sources in Jewish law is an indispensable guide of moral knowledge.


"The book is well written and stands on its own merits. The use of real clinical cases, especially, makes for a fascinating interplay between theory and practice throughout. . . Freedman certainly fulfilled his objective of showing how "Religion [in his case, Judaism] can provide a fuller understanding, by placing the questions raised within a global and even cosmic context.' " --David Novak, University of Toronto (ONT)."

"The late Benjamin Freedman's Duty and Healing adds to his remarkable legacy and reminds us just how much we will miss his distinctive voice in bioethics. Laying the foundations for a Jewish approach to bioethics, and illustrating his arguments with numerous case studies, Freedman shows how a model of duty offers a distinctive and illuminating perspective on ethics consultations, family decisions, informed consent, determinations of competence, and judgments about risk. I strongly recommend this book." -- James F. Childress, Kyle Professor of Religious Studies & Professor of Medical Education; Co-Director, Virginia Health Policy Center University of Virginia

"While Freedman's analysis is built solidly on Jewish principles, the resulting practical and theoretical construct reaches out beyond the confines of Judaism and embraces readers who do not necessarily share the author's religious ties. Freedman strongly believed that Judaism and other religious traditions provide a perspective missing, yet badly needed, in current bioethical discussion. His vision of a bioethics based on duties is one that will have broad appeal to those who have become increasingly uncomfortable with a bioethics based on a regime of rights." -- -Theodore Fleischer Perspectives in Biology and Medicine

About the Author

Benjamin Freedman was a Professor of Medicine and Philosophy in the Biomedical Ethics Unit at McGill University. He wrote extensively on bioethics and was most recently co-editor of Contemporary Health Care Ethics in Canada (1995). He died in 1997. Charles Weijer is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Office for Bioethics Education and Research at Dalhousie University.

About the Series

Reflective Bioethics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Ethics
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General