Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Golden Rule: The Ethics of Reciprocity in World Religions

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Golden Rule: The Ethics of Reciprocity in World Religions

Article excerpt

The Golden Rule: The Ethics of Reciprocity in World Religions. Edited by Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton, New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008. xü + 185 pp. $34.95 (paper).

In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this lì the laic and the prophets. (Jesus)

You shall love the gër, for you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy)

Friends love each other reciprocally from choice and their choice springs from a habit. (Aristotle)

Do not CÍO anything for others which « noi good for yourself, (The Pahlavi Texts)

None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself! (Muhammad)

Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton Have assembled a rich collection of scholarly essays exploring and studying the Golden Rule, an ethical principle expressed in most religions and philosophical traditions worldwide. These essays, the result of a conference funded by the Templeton Foundation, embark on a project of mapping the nuances, applications, limits, and "continuity of meaning" (p. 5) of the Golden Rule. Looking at Judaism, Greek mythology and philosophy, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Isiam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism, the essayists explore what the Golden Rule says and means, how it works, and how it matters in each religion and culture.

These essays suggest how the Golden Rule emerged in different societies - and the shift from a reactionary warrior- or clan-based ethic, to a nation- or culture-based value of caring for others who are different and anticipating bonds of social reciprocity by giving first. They show how the Golden Rule permeates a people's moral and ethical understanding even when it is not explicitly cited (as in Judaism), or when it is clearly threaded throughout the teachings of a religion (as in Zoroastrianism). They reveal how the Golden Rule is rooted in different organizing perspectives of nature, truth, the world, and the good.

Does the Golden Rule reflect a universal human tendency toward the Other? A "natural law" argument from Origen (presented by Olivier du Roy) sets the Golden Rule in the created nature of humans, such that "man may . …

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