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From imago Dei in the Jewish-Christian traditions to human dignity in contemporary Jewish law.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Kennedy Institute of Ethics journal
Publication Date
Volume
19
Issue
3
Pages
231–259
Identifiers
PMID: 19886523
Source
Medline

Abstract

The article surveys and analyzes the roles in Judaism of the value of imago Dei/human dignity, especially in bioethical contexts. Two main topics are discussed. The first is a comparative analysis of imago Dei as an anthropological and ethical concept in Jewish and Western thought (Christianity and secular European values). The Jewish tradition highlights the human body and especially its procreative function and external appearance as central to imago Dei. The second is the role of imago Dei as a moral value relative to others. In rabbinic Judaism, respect for human dignity is not the primary moral maxim; it is secondary to the value of neighborly love and sometimes to other moral laws and values.

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