According to Novak, biblical revelation has universal implications—that it is ultimately God's law to humanity because humans made in God's image are capable of making intelligent moral choices. The universality of this claim, however, stands in tension with the particularities of Jewish monotheism (one God, one people, one law). Novak's challenge is for Judaism to capitalize on the way God's law transcends particularity without destroying difference. Thus it is as Jews that Jews are called to join communities across the faithful denominations, as well as secular ones, to engage in debates about the common good.
Jewish Justice follows a logical progression from grounded ethical quandaries to larger philosophical debates. Novak begins by considering the practical issues of capital punishment, mutilation and torture, corporate crime, the landed status of communities and nations, civil marriage, and religious marriage. He next moves to a consideration of theoretical concerns: God's universal justice, the universal aim of particular Jewish ethics, human rights and the image of God, the relation of post-Enlightenment social contract theory to the recently enfranchised Jewish community, and the voices of Jewish citizens in secular politics and the public sphere. Novak also explores the intersection of universality and particularity by examining the practice of interfaith dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
About the Author
"David Novak, rabbi and professor, is singularly adept in the range of disciplines needed to speak wisely on Jewish justice: Talmudic/rabbinic jurisprudence, Jewish philosophy, Jewish ethics, and the history of rabbinic practice. A deep reader and interpreter of Greek, Latin, and German philosophic and theological traditions, Novak is singularly qualified to speak wisely to Christian as well as Jewish readers.""—Peter Ochs, Edgar Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia
"Novak's unparalleled ability to bring philosophical perspicuity to the full range of normative legal and moral texts makes him always worth reading. One could disagree with some of his substantive views, but one always learns a good deal and feels enriched by the encounter with this consummately thoughtful master of Jewish law and ethics."—Alan Mittleman, Aaron Rabinowitz and Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Jewish Philosophy, The Jewish Theological Seminary
Other Titles by David Novak
Other Titles in RELIGION / Judaism / General