November 21, 2012

by Reb Yudel
Is particularism the essence of Judaism?

Rabbi Robert Gordis, in a letter to the New York Review of Books:

Conventional wisdom has it that broad, universal philosophic concepts are to be sought among the Greeks, while narrow, intense particularisms derive from the Hebrews.

It may be worth pointing out that the human telos which Professor Cameron finds lacking in Aristotle, and which he credits Christianity with introducing, was clearly enunciated by the Hebrew prophet Micah four centuries before Aristotle and eight centuries before the birth of Christianity: "He has told you, O human being (adam) what is good and what the Lord your God requires of you, to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:7). Not the Jew or the freeman or the male (ish) but the human being irrespective of race, status or gender, is being called upon to obey the Divine imperative.

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