Judaism and Human Rights: Second Edition / Edition 2

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Overview

Areligion or a culture like Judaism, at least three thousand years old, cannot be expected to be all of one piece, homogeneous, self-contained, consistent, a neatly constructed system of ideas. If Judaism were that, it would have died centuries ago and would be a subject of interest only to the historian and archaeologist. Judaism has been a living force precisely because it is a teeming, thundering, and clamoring phenomenon, full of contrary tendencies and inconsistencies. Although there are no words or phrases in Hebrew Scriptures for "human rights," "conscience," or "due process of law," the ideals and values which these concepts represent were inherent in the earliest Jewish texts.

This volume begins with four essays on the concept of man's being born "free and equal," in the image of God. The underpinning of this concept in Jewish law is explored in Section 2, entitled "The Rule of Law." Section 3, "The Democratic Ideal," traces the foundations of democracy in the Jewish teachings in the Bible and the Talmud, which in turn influenced the whole body of Western political thought. Relations between man and man, man and woman, employer and employee, slave and master are all spelled out. Section 4 presents essays analyzing man's freedom of conscience, and his God-given rights to dissent and protest. Section 5 deals with aspects of personal liberty, including the right of privacy. Section 6, entitled "The Earth is the Lord's," deals with the Jewish view of man's transient tenancy on God's earth, his obligations not to destroy anything that lives or grows, and to share the earth's bounty with the poor, the widowed, and the orphaned. Section 7 delivers an analysis of the "end of days" vision of Micah and man's continuing need to strive for peace and not for war. The volume concludes with three new essays, dealing with contemporary issues: "In God's Image: The Religious Imperative of Equality under Law"; "The Values of a Jewish and Democratic State: The Task of Reaching a Synthesis"; and "Religious Freedom and Religious Coercion in the State of Israel." This enlarged edition is accessibly written for a general and scholarly audience and will be of particular interest to political scientists, historians, and constitutional scholars.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765808578
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 427
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Milton R. Konvitz (1908-2003) was a professor of law and professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, he was the founder of Cornell’s department of Near Eastern studies and of its program in Jewish studies. He is the author and/or editor of many important books in constitutional law, Judaic studies, and philosophy, including Liberian Code of Laws Revised, On the Nature of Value: The Philosophy of Samuel Alexander,and Nine American Jewish Thinkers. Milton R. Konvitz (1908-2003) was a professor of law and professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, he was the founder of Cornell’s department of Near Eastern studies and of its program in Jewish studies. He is the author and/or editor of many important books in constitutional law, Judaic studies, and philosophy, including Liberian Code of Laws Revised, On the Nature of Value: The Philosophy of Samuel Alexander,and Nine American Jewish Thinkers.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to Transaction Edition 1
Preface 11
Introduction 13
Pt. I Born Free and Equal 23
Editor's Note 25
Man's Dignity in God's World 27
Judaism and Equality 33
A Common Humanity under One God 55
Many Are Called and Many Are Chosen 75
Pt. II The Rule of Law 85
Editor's Note 87
The Bible and the Rule of Law 89
Kingship under the Judgment of God 92
The Rule of a Higher Law 99
Pt. III The Democratic Ideal 115
Editor's Note 117
Judaism and the Democratic Ideal 119
Foundations of Democracy in the Scriptures and Talmud 140
Democratic Aspirations in Talmudic Judaism 145
Pt. IV Freedom of Conscience 157
Editor's Note 159
Conscience and Civil Disobedience 161
Freedom of Religion - Absolute and Inalienable 179
The Right of Dissent and Intellectual Liberty 190
Pt. V Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness 213
Editor's Note 215
The Good Life 216
The Right of Privacy 225
There Shall Be No Poor 234
Pt. VI The Earth Is the Lord's 247
Editor's Note 249
Man as Temporary Tenant 251
Do Not Destroy! 259
Ecology and the Jewish Tradition 265
Pt. VII Pursuit of Peace 275
Editor's Note 277
The Vision of Micah 278
Pt. VIII Human Rights in an Israeli Context 289
Religious Freedom and Religious Coercion in the State of Israel 291
In God's Image: The Religious Imperative of Equality Under Law 335
The Values of a Jewish and Democratic State: The Task of Reaching a Synthesis 353
Contributors 419
Index 421
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