Dancing in Chains

Ze'ev Maghen

in Judaic Sources and Western Thought

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199583157
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728952 | DOI:
Dancing in Chains

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This chapter explains how apparent antitheses of law and exemplary individuality are, in fact, merely apparent, and how spirited, even revolutionary individuality is valued by both traditions. The chapter considers the ways in which the comprehensive legalism of Judaic and Islamic thought actually is not an impediment to freedom or a constraining imposition on individuality. This approach to the relationship between law and freedom can do much to correct persistent misinterpretations of the Judaic conception of moral personality. It explicates the ways in which these faith-traditions are alert to the differences between what is required of people in regard to behaviour on the one hand, and the significance of the vigour of individual character, on the other. Moreover, the traditions have a realistic appreciation of the difference between aspiring to fashion a stable, virtuous social world, and trying to remake human nature or individual persons.

Keywords: legalism; romanticism; spontaneity; virtue

Chapter.  8588 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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