• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain Judaism as a theory of religious ethics

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Explain a theory of Religious Ethics 25 marks Judaism is ethically monotheistic, meaning that it believes solely in one G-d who judges our actions. The ethical system of Judaism is an objective and absolute ethical theory. This is because Jews believe that G-d?s word is final, and that they must obey the word of one G-d. for example if G-d tells us ?Do not murder? then we have to refrain from doing so under any circumstances, unless G-d has given a certain situation in which we are allowed to break the law. For example G-d sees it as acceptable to kill another person if the circumstance meant that it was in self-defence. However any exception to the rules has to be dictated by G-d, therefore G-d is absolute. In contrast, Judaism can be seen as relativist in some respects. Customs in Judaism for example are relativist; what is said to be correct and ethical in one community may differ from another. For example there are many differences between Ashkenazi and Sefardi Jewish customs. After marriage, it is customary for Ashkenazi women to wear a wig or some other form of head covering, whereas Sefardim reject this custom. Another feature of Jewish ethics is Divine Command theory. This is the idea that something is good because G-d said so rather than G-d choosing it because it is good. ...read more.


Jews believe in reward for their actions and achievements on earth. This focus of the end in mind means their actions are chosen wisely with the idea of the ?Olam Haba? as the end, making it teleological. Lastly Judaism also shares similar ideas with Utilitarianism, further emphasising deontological and teleological ethics. For example, in the Mishnah Bava Batra it says ?One must distance a fixed threshing floor 50 cubits from town?. Rabbis explain that this is because ?the chaff is harmful to inhabitants of the town?. This shows how Judaism also supports the idea of ?the greatest good for the greatest number? as it is seeking the welfare of those living in the town, the majority. This is presented again when in the Mishna Sanhedrin is says ? a Jewish king on his way to war can make a breach in a land owners fence (around a field/vineyard) and make a right of way through there with no limit to its width?. This in addition supports the idea of the ?greatest good for the greatest number? as because the war satisfies the majority, the king is allowed to destroy property to go to war. Religious ethics offers the best approach to issues raised by abortion. Discuss One might argue that Utilitarianism offers the best approach to issues raised by abortion as it is simple and easy, it can be summed up in one line ?the greatest good for the greatest number?. ...read more.


Furthermore, Judaism largely focuses on the life of the mother. For example in Hilkhot Rotzeach we are told ?not to pity the soul of a rodef (pursuer). The baby is the pursuer, and therefore harming the life of the mother and in these circumstances may be terminated. However it too goes on to say ?once the head has emerged, one soul is not set aside for the sake of another?, again recognising when the babies life becomes equal to the mothers. Moreover Rambam places his commentary on abortion under the heading of murder, this primarily illustrates that abortion is seen as wrong. Judaism therefore offers the best approach to issues raised by abortion as it is broad, focusing on both the life of the mother as well as the babie?s. Overall Judaism offers the best approach to issues raised by abortion, as just like utilitarianism it focuses on both the mother and fetus, and is therefore broad in that aspect. However unlike utilitarianism it focuses on the importance of life rather than happiness. The importance of a human beings life is much more crucial than an individual?s happiness. Lastly Judaism tackles a broader set of circumstances, and rather than giving the same answer for all, like utilitarianism is able to apply its beliefs appropriately to ensure the most fitting outcome. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Judaism section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Judaism essays

  1. Critically evaluate the claim that all religious doctrines and institutions exercise patriarchal control over ...

    She argues that even though the classical teachings may stress the equality between men and women, the practice is far from this. Holm's believes that women's second-class status is often related to female sexuality. Menstruation and childbirth are seen as polluting.

  2. Search for the Jewish Messiah

    The 'prophet today' in June 1991, gives several accountants of what different rabbis think and when they feel the Messiah will come. Even though it was written in 1991 much of the information can be related to now a day's.

  1. Free essay

    'If one of the divisions in Judaism is right then the others must be ...

    Unlike the Orthodox jews waiting for the messiah to come the Non orthodox jews believe in the idea that the messiah does not need to a person and they do not require the temple to be re built as they are happy as they are.

  2. Describe in detail the way in which a fully observant Orthodox Jewish family would ...

    The males and females will sit separately during the service. The parents aren't allowed to use the car during Shabbat, so the family are likely to walk to the synagogue together. The Rabbi leads the family and others in prayer, during the service.

  1. Explain how Mark shows the difference in attitude between Jesus and the Pharisees over ...

    in The Man with the paralysed hand 3.1-6). He also criticised the Oral Tradition Law, which only permitted healing on the Sabbath if the person was in danger. This conflict eventually led to the death of Jesus. "Christians should not take part in sporting events or go shopping on a Sunday".

  2. Has Hasidism has been essential to the continuation of Judaism?

    Due to this need for intimacy with God the Hymn to Glory proved very influential and in the 13th century Moses de Leon (1240-1305) wrote the Zohar, in which he developed these ideas further. The Zohar became the holy book for the Kabbalah movement which is a mystical approach towards

  1. Juxtapositions of Judaism

    There are, however, similar stories beginning in the years around 1250 B.C.E. During this period Moses was said to have brought the word of God down from the mountain, in the form of the stone tablets known as the Ten Commandments.

  2. Orthodox Judaism is Kantian Whereas Progressive Judaism is Relative, Discuss

    After the sin, morality became subjective. Torah is divine logic so to speak, and so for Orthodox Jews the absolute truth. So whilst Orthodox Judaism sees the Torah as the ultimate moral agent, whereas Kant sees reason as the ultimate moral reason, it could be argued that it is by

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work