Sanctity of Human Life / Edition 2

Sanctity of Human Life / Edition 2

by David Novak
     
 

ISBN-10: 1589011767

ISBN-13: 9781589011762

Pub. Date: 09/28/2007

Publisher: Georgetown University Press

Novak is a Jewish theologian who digs deep into Jewish scripture and tradition to find guidance for assessing three contemporary controversies in medicine and public policy: the use of embryos to derive stem cells for research; socialized medicine; and physician-assisted suicide. This is first and foremost a book of theology, and Novak weaves a rich and…  See more details below

Overview

Novak is a Jewish theologian who digs deep into Jewish scripture and tradition to find guidance for assessing three contemporary controversies in medicine and public policy: the use of embryos to derive stem cells for research; socialized medicine; and physician-assisted suicide. This is first and foremost a book of theology, and Novak weaves a rich and sophisticated tapestry of evidence to conclude that the Jewish understanding of the human being as sacred, as the image of God, is compatible with philosophical claims about the rights of the human person--especially the right to life--and can thus be made intelligible to secular culture. So what appears to be a specifically religious argument is, in Novak's view, generalizable. (This is why "A Jewish Perspective," is not the subtitle; in some ways that appeal to a religious identity would undercut the power of his argument.) What's the payoff? That the use of stem cells from embryos is morally unacceptable; that the sanctity of the human person, and not capitalist or socialist approaches, should drive our understanding of national health care; and that physician-assisted suicide violates a humankind's fundamental responsibility for caring for one another.
Novak is a Georgetown Ph.D. (1971) and has a remarkable grasp of philosophical literature, from Plato to Aristotle to Kant to Nietsche. He uses those thinkers, then deftly draws on great Jewish figures from history--Maimonides, Rashi, and various commentators on the Torah (the written law, aka, the first five books of the Old Testament) and the Mishnah (the oral law). His interpretation of Jewish tradition is more conservative than, say, Brody or Mackler. But his method, his attempt to speak to modern moral dilemmas, is brilliant.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781589011762
Publisher:
Georgetown University Press
Publication date:
09/28/2007
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Preface

1. On the Use of Embryonic Stem CellsNormative Questions and Normative ContextsPhilosophy, Politics, and Theology and Their InterrelationsThe Status of the Embryo in Current Jewish DiscussionNatural Law in JudaismThree Rabbinic Texts Pertaining to AbortionThe Embryo before and after the Fortieth Day of GestationLaw and Scientific EvidenceThe Beginning of Human LifePermission or Obligation?Political RealitiesNotes

2. A Jewish Argument for Socialized MedicineUniversal Health Care: Canada and the United StatesMoral and Theological Problems with the Practice of MedicineMedicine as a Sacred ProfessionMedicine as a CallingNonsectarian MedicineNotes

3. Physician-Assisted SuicideTheology, Philosophy, and PoliticsWho is Guilty in Physician-Assisted Suicide?The Physician Kills the PatientThe Physician Orders the Patient KilledThe Physician Orders the Patient to Commit SuicideThe Physician Prepares the Patient for SuicideSuicide as a Reflexive ActSuicide and Personal ResponsibilityPublic Philosophy in a Secular SocietySuicide: Public and PrivateSociety's Claims on the Individual PersonStruggling against the Politics of DeathNotes

Bibliography

Index

Georgetown University Press

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