Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics / Edition 1

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The International Society for Science and Religion has selected Matters of Life and Death as an element of the ISSR Library. The mission of the ISSR Library is "to provide a comprehensive resource for scholars, students, and interested lay readers in the area of science and the human spirit.” The incredible medical breakthroughs of today, like genetic engineering, in-vitro fertilizations, and cloning have transformed long-held beliefs on the nature of both life and death, raising difficult moral and religious questions. In Matters of Life and Death Elliot Dorff thoroughly addresses this unavoidable confluence of medical technology and Jewish law and ethics.

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Editorial Reviews


"[A] well-organized and comprehensively researched volume. The variety of sourcing from classic and contemporary Jewish scholars in theology, ethics, history, and law, along with the extensive bibliography and well-done index, render this work eminently useful."—Choice

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For many years now, religious thinkers have been at the forefront of medical ethics. Catholic and Jewish writers and physicians, in particular, have taken great care to address ethical questions raised by modern medicine and to examine how those ethical questions impinge upon their religious traditions. In this book, Dorff, a Conservative Jew who has participated in the Ethics Committee of the UCLA Medical Center, argues that "moral values [are] an integral part of the Jewish legal process by which contemporary decisions should be made." As Jews confront ethical questions surrounding the beginning of life and the end of life, according to Dorff, they must do so with religious law in one and their moral sensitivities in the other. In the book's first section, Dorff summarizes the beliefs underlying Jewish medical ethics--"the body belongs to God," "human worth stems from being created in God's image," "Jews have a mandate and duty to heal," "Jews must sanctify God's name"--to demonstrate their importance for contemporary discussions of Jewish medical ethics. Dorff then addresses a number of issues of medical ethics, ranging from infertility and the use of artificial insemination and issues surrounding reproductive technologies to assisted suicide, organ donation and the distribution of health care. In contrast to many Orthodox rabbis, who oppose donor insemination, Dorff argues in favor of the procedure because he says it helps couples to achieve "a precious goal in Jewish law and thought, the bearing of children." Though this and other of Dorff's positions are likely to be controversial within and without Judaism, his book is a thorough introduction to Jewish medical ethics. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780827607682
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
  • Publication date: 9/23/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 1,117,401
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Matters of Method and Belief 3
Ch. 1 Consulting the Jewish Tradition for Moral Guidance 5
Ch. 2 Fundamental Beliefs Underlying Jewish Medical Ethics 14
Pt. 2 Moral Issues at the Beginning of Life 35
Ch. 3 Having Children with One's Own Genetic Materials 37
Ch. 4 Having Children Using Donated Genetic Materials 66
Ch. 5 Preventing Pregnancy 116
Ch. 6 The Social Context of Generating Life 134
Pt. 3 Matters at the End of Life 165
Ch. 7 Preparing for Death 167
Ch. 8 The Process of Dying 176
Ch. 9 After Death: Cremation, Autopsy, and Organ Donation 221
Pt. 4 The Communal Context of Medical Care 243
Ch. 10 Preventing Illness 245
Ch. 11 Linking Mind and Body 255
Ch. 12 Nonmedical Aspects of Medical Care 279
Epilogue: An Imperative to Choose Life 325
Notes 327
App The Philosophical Foundations of My Approach to Bioethics 395
Notes to the Appendix 418
Bibliography 424
Index 443
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