Ethical Theories in the Orthodox Movement

David Shatz

in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199736065
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Ethical Theories in the Orthodox Movement

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This chapter examines the writings of Modern Orthodox thinkers. To frame the discussion, it focuses on a so-called maximalist Modern Orthodox position consisting of four assertions, each of which is discussed in turn: (i) the validity thesis, (ii) the knowledge thesis, (iii) the jurisprudential thesis; (iv) the reconciliation thesis. The four components of the maximalist Modern Orthodox positions have varying degrees of textual, philosophical, and empirical support. Perhaps the deepest problem confronting a Modern Orthodox thinker is how a decisor can trust his ethical judgments, given that some of God's commands strike people as immoral and human judgment therefore appears to be deeply flawed.

Keywords: Modern Orthodox thinkers; maximalist position; validity thesis; knowledge thesis; jurisprudential thesis; reconciliation thesis

Article.  8681 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Judaism and Jewish Studies ; Religious Studies

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