Confronting Vulnerability: The Body and the Divine in by Jonathan Wyn Schofer

By Jonathan Wyn Schofer

Whereas supplying their moral classes, rabbinic texts usually hire bright photos of demise, getting older, starvation, defecation, persecution, and drought. In Confronting Vulnerability, Jonathan Wyn Schofer conscientiously examines those texts to determine why their creators suggestion that human vulnerability used to be this kind of an important device for teaching scholars within the improvement of exemplary behavior.These rabbinic texts uphold virtues reminiscent of knowledge and compassion, propound excellent methods of responding to others in desire, and describe the main points of etiquette. Schofer demonstrates that those pedagogical targets have been accomplished via reminders that one’s time in the world is proscribed and that God is the last word grasp of the area. attention of demise and of divine accounting advisor scholars to dwell larger lives within the current. Schofer’s research teaches us a lot approximately rabbinic pedagogy in past due antiquity and in addition presents notion for college students of up to date ethics. regardless of their cultural distance, those rabbinic texts problem us to boost theories and practices that correctly handle our frailties instead of denying them.

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Extra info for Confronting Vulnerability: The Body and the Divine in Rabbinic Ethics

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3 Richard Sorabji has made two observations regarding these philosophical exercises that carry over to the rabbinic maxims. First, they reveal an asymmetrical attitude to the past and future. Despite Epicurean arguments 2. Stalnaker, Overcoming our Evil, 40 and generally 39–44, 151–290; Hadot, Philosophy as a Way of Life, 59–60, 81–89, and generally 49–70, 79–144 (he discusses the word “spiritual” in 81–82, and his definition can be encompassed in my understanding of “ethical’”); Schofer, “Spiritual Exercises in Rabbinic Culture,” 207–209; Sorabji, Emotion and Peace of Mind, esp.

Rabbi Levi connects this event with bodily processes to contrast rabbis and ordinary persons: And the clouds return after the rains (Eccles. 12:2). Rabbi Levi said: Two [interpretations], one for fellow disciples and one for uncultivated people. One for fellow disciples: He is about to cry, and tears flow from his eyes. One for uncultivated people: he goes to urinate, and balls [of excrement] come first. Ecclesiastes emphasizes that wisdom does not necessarily bring worldly benefits: the same fate comes to the wise and the foolish (Eccles.

More often, we find legal and monetary metaphors. Akavya ben Mahalalel presents God as a king and judge, with humans implied as subjects and defendants. In other passages, God may be a storekeeper or employer, with humans as creditors or servants. ” If theology means thought that 4. Sorabji, Emotion and Peace of Mind, 228–231, 238–240. 5. In discussing Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 151a–153a, David Kraemer emphasizes that the ability to perform commandments is, for these rabbis, the crucial difference between the living and the dead: The Meanings of Death, 111–116.

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