The Moral Life of the Hebrews

The Moral Life of the Hebrews

The Moral Life of the Hebrews

The Moral Life of the Hebrews

Excerpt

This book undertakes to present a history of the development of Hebrew morals as recorded in the Old Testament. That there was a historical development none can well deny. The aim here is to present that history a objectivity as possible. The facts are for the most part left to speak for themselves. The literary sources containing the record of this moral progress are treated in the probable order of their origin.

The presentation might have been made more vivid and vital if space had permitted a closer integration of the moral practices and ideals with the contemporary social and economic conditions amid which they functioned. The social aspects of ethical problems and situations have not been wholly ignored. But there is still need of, and room for, a good scientific handbook on the sociology of the Hebrews.

The Hebrew point of view always coupled morals with religion. They were one and inseparable. The outstanding characteristics of Hebrew religion is the fact that it gave free course to the moral forces latent within it. None of the Hebrew thinkers ever separated morals from religion. It was the moral passion of the Hebrew religion that gave it its dynamic. Ethics and theology advanced together, each supporting the other. The great contribution of the prophets was that they ethicized the religion of their people. Their crowning achievement was ethical monotheism.

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