Jewish Ethics Comparison Essay by xxlilkittyxx

Jewish Ethics
A look at how Jewish ethics go beyond secular ethics to promote an overall ethical lifestyle.
# 109152 | 1,813 words | 6 sources | APA | 2008 | CA
Published on Nov 20, 2008 in Religion and Theology (Judaism) , Ethics (General)

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This paper discusses Jewish ethics, setting out to prove that Jewish ethics often exceed the societal expectations of a morally just individual. The author goes on to illustrate, with examples, the extent to which Jewish ethics aims to promote social and communal harmony. The paper also compares Jewish ethics to secular ethics in order to demonstrate how Jewish ethics go above and beyond secular ethics to ensure that all individuals in society are treated with the utmost respect, dignity and compassion.

Jewish and Secular Ethics
Social and Communal Harmony

From the Paper:

"In proving that Jewish ethics go beyond secular ethics to promote an overall ethical lifestyle, it would be useful to explain the two ethical traditions in greater detail. The relationship between religion and ethics is about the relationship between revelation and reason (Ashby, 1997). Religion is based in some measure on the idea that God reveals insights about life and its true meaning. These insights are collected in texts (the Torah) and presented as "revelation" (Borowitz & Schwartz, 1999). Ethics, from a strictly humanistic secular perspective, is based on the tenets of reason: Anything that is not rationally verifiable cannot be considered justifiable; it is up to the individual's logic to decide whether something is right or wrong. From this perspective, ethical principles need not derive their authority from religious doctrine. Instead, these principles are upheld for their value in promoting independent and responsible individuals--people who are capable of making decisions that maximize their own well-being while respecting the well-being of others (Nielsen, 1973). In contrast, most subsequent Jewish ethical claims may be traced back to the religious texts, themes and teachings of the written Torah. The best known rabbinic text associated with ethics is the non-legal Mishnah tractate of Avot, popularly translated as "Ethics of the Fathers" (Lazarus & Szold, 1900). These written and oral traditions guide the Jewish individual to an ethically, just lifestyle. The ethical Jewish individual is obligated to follow such principles (not just individual actions) and will be held accountable for them after their death. Jewish individuals are obligated to show compassion to all walks of life that exceeds that of the societal norm, to study and also to not only respect every individual but to genuinely respect and take care of one's own body and mind in order to respect others holistically (Bulka, 2002)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Ashby, W (1997). A comprehensive history of Western ethics: What do we believe?. Amhert, New York: Promentheus Books.
  • Borowitz, E, B., & Schwartz, F, W. (1999). The Jewish moral Virtues. New York, New York: Jewish Publication Society.
  • Bulka, R, P. (2002). Chapters of the Sages: A psychological commentary on Pirkey Avoth. New Jersey, New York: Jason Aronson Inc..
  • Cohn-Sherbok, D (1997). Fifty key Jewish thinkers. London, England: Routledge
  • Lazarus, M, & Szold, H (1900). The ethics of Judaism. Philadelphia, USA: The Jewish publication society of America.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Jewish Ethics (2008, November 20) Retrieved December 09, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Jewish Ethics" 20 November 2008. Web. 09 December. 2022. <>