Toward a Jewish (M)orality: Speaking of a Postmodern Jewish Ethics

By S. Daniel Breslauer | Go to book overview

present and in the past. It answers these faces with a dynamic ethics of choosing and moving on.


NOTES
1.
Jonathan Boyarin examines the implications of this transformed experience of politics, nationalism, and human nature in his Storm from Paradise: The Politics of Jewish Memory ( Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992). Other studies of how the Holocaust alters Jewish perceptions of the world are found in Zygmund Bauman , Modernity and the Holocaust ( Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989), Peter J. Haas, Morality after Auschwitz: The Radical Challenge of the Nazi Ethic ( Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988), Richard L. Rubenstein, After Auschwitz ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), and the several essays in Richard L. Rubenstein and John K. Roth, eds., Approaches to Auschwitz: The Holocaust and Its Legacy ( Atlanta: John Knox, 1987). This awareness of the changed world view need not be exclusively Jewish. Darrell J. Fasching offers a set of two reflections on the ethical implications of the Holocaust important for any consideration of Jewish morality. See Darrell J. Fasching , The Ethical Challenge of Auschwitz and Hiroshima: Apocalypse or Utopia? ( Albany: SUNY Press, 1993) and his Narrative Theology after Auschwitz: From Alienation to Ethics ( Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1992).
2.
See Haas, Morality after Auschwitz.
3.
Ibid., 255.
4.
See the discussion in Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Georff Bennington and Brian Massumi, trs. ( Minneapolis: Uni versity of Minnesota Press, 1984).
5.
Zygmund Bauman, Legislators and Interpreters: On Modernity, Post-modernity and Intellectuals ( Cambridge: Polity Press, 1987). Compare his Intimations of Postmodernity ( London: Polity, 1991), and his Postmodern Ethics ( Oxford: Blackwell, 1993).
6.
Despite the variety of perspectives exhibited by the books listed below, they all share a common presupposition. They believe that Jewish thinking takes a distinctive perspective on human existence. That perspective claims that the world is neither a finished entity presenting itself to human beings nor a completely malleable set of potentials that humanity can manipulate as it pleases. Instead each of the following works, in its own way, calls upon Jews to reshape the world that presents itself according to the demands of a divine being. Humanity and God cooperate in a dialogue of creativity that each author seeks to explicate. Of the many useful efforts in this regard, several of which are treated in more detail below, the most important include J. David Bleich , Contemporary Halakhic Problems 3 ( New York: Ktav Publishing and Yeshiva University Press, 1989); Eugene B. Borowitz, Exploring Jewish Ethics: Papers on Covenant Responsibility ( Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990), Zeev W. Falk, Religious Law and Ethics: Studies in Biblical and Rabbinical Theonomy ( Jerusalem: Mesharim Publishers, 1991); David Novak books Halakhah in a Theological Dimension. Brown Judaic Studies 68 ( Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1985) and Jewish Social Ethics ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1992); and Byron L. Sherwin, In Partnership with God: Contemporary Jewish Law and Ethics ( Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1990). There are also useful anthologies devoted to ethical reflection such as two

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