Article

Jewish Environmental Ethics

Arthur Waskow

in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199736065
Published online January 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199736065.013.0026

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Jewish Environmental Ethics

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This chapter discusses Jewish environmental ethics. It focuses on what two central biblical stories—the Garden of Eden and the Flood—tell us about Jewish ecological ethics as the Torah itself tells those stories, and as the later rabbis interpreted and expanded them, with special concern for the emerging ethics of Eco-Judaism. In so doing, the chapter illustrates how the Jewish tradition uses midrash, the interpretation of texts and their literary nuances, to discover meanings in sacred texts that make them ever relevant to us in changing times and circumstances. It briefly develops one of the Torah's laws on ecology, and an emerging interest on the part of some Jews to understand God differently to reflect our current ecological understanding of life as one integrated whole, in order to demonstrate how Jewish law and theology are relevant to ecology.

Keywords: Jewish environmental ethics; Garden of Eden; Flood; ecological ethics; Torah; Eco-Judaism; midrash; Jews; Jewish law; Jewish theology

Article.  8351 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Judaism and Jewish Studies ; Religious Studies ; Sociology of Religion ; Religion and Science

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