This dialogue between the Jewish normative tradition and Western
moral philosophy addresses central contemporary issues in medical
Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics consists of a dialogue between
contemporary, Western moral philosophy and the Jewish tradition of
legal/moral discourse (Halakha). Recognizing that no single
tradition has a monopoly on valid moral teachings, it seeks to
enrich our ethical perspectives through mutual exchange.
This is facilitated by a non-authoritarian approach to Judaism
-- a clear alternative to the implicitly insular, "take-it
or-leave-it" approach often encountered in this field. Following in
the footsteps of classical rabbinic discussions, normative
pronouncements are grounded in reasons, open to critical
examination. The "alternatives" are within the book as well -- the
presentation throughout avoids one-sided conclusions, citing and
analyzing two or more positions to make sense of the debate. These
particular arguments are also linked to a larger picture,
contrasting two basic themes: religious naturalism versus religious
Concretely, the book addresses some of the central contemporary
issues in the ethics of medicine. These include assisted suicide
and euthanasia, donor insemination and "surrogate" motherhood, the
use of human cadavers for learning and research, and allocation of
scarce resources at both the individual and social levels.
"This is a good example of the kind of mutual learning that can
happen when two traditions are integrated, and the author's
discussions of the topics he treats advance the field". -- Elliot
N. Dorff, University of Judaism
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