Halakha and Morality: A Few Methodological Considerations

Daniel Statman, Shalom Carmy, Suzanne Stone, Devorah Schoenfeld, Menachem Marc Kellner, Mark Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper argues that the current discussion on the relationship between morality and halakha tends to confuse philosophical, historical, ideological and jurisprudential issues. It claims that the philosophical question of whether or not morality is dependent on religion should be separated from the historical question of how Jewish thinkers perceived the relationship between divine command and morality and from the question of the actual role played by moral considerations in the history of halakha. Similarly, the jurisprudential question regarding the formalistic nature of the law should be separated from the internal, halakhic question regarding the weight that should be assigned to formalistic, as opposed to substantive, considerations in halakha. The only way to understand the role of moral considerations in halakha as an historical phenomenon is through comprehensive inductive research on the role of moral considerations in halakha together with an investigation into the way experts in halakha viewed this role.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Textual Reasoning
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Jewish law -- Philosophy -- History
  • Jewish law and ethics


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