Envy in Jewish Thought and Literature

Solomon Schimmel

in Envy

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780195327953
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199301485 | DOI:
Envy in Jewish Thought and Literature

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This chapter discusses envy in light of Jewish thought and literature. It begins by focusing on passages from the Hebrew Bible that contain envy, and uses these passages to convey how the early Hebrews treated the emotion. These passages, beginning with the story of Cain and Abel, capture how much envy can permeate everyday life as well as any abstract description, and also suggest how it can motivate a range of extreme behavior. Envy is contrasted with the related but distinct emotion of jealousy, a common source of confusion in understanding both emotions. The chapter then analyzes how envy is understood in the wide-ranging, post-biblical rabbinic literature, some of which anticipate “self-help” books of today. Finally, it compares and contrasts Jewish traditions with Christian teachings.

Keywords: Judaism; Jewish thought; envy; jealousy; early Hebrews

Chapter.  11728 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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