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Philosophisch-ethische Rezensionen
(Erscheinungsdatum der rezensierten Bücher: 20. und 21. Jahrhundert)

Edited by Geoffrey D. Claussen, Alexander Green, Alan L. Mittleman, Jewish Virtue Ethics, New York 2023

The book shows that Jewish philosophical and intellectual tradition features virtue prominently in its ethical reflections. It's about the way of life in which virtue is developed in the context with Jewish tradition. The importance of transcendent values, so the editors, and the importance of studying the scriptures and scholarly tradition, is woven into everyday life. In this tradition commandments and rules are central. The reader is introduced to this tradition from its early beginning (biblical tradition, Philo of Alexandria and Flavius Josephus, to the rabbinic literature and the great Middle Ages thinkers, such as e.g. Maimonides, up until latest Jewish approaches in the 20. century till now). Over all 35 chapters predominantly with introductions to philosophers, that means in most of the cases Jewish theologians. Conspicuous here is the utmost lack of female thinkers with one exception Hannah Arendt and a short chapter of Jewish Feminism. That's all what is offered in this respect and gives a hint to female importance on Jewish thought or at least what the editors think it is important.

As I'm an interested beginner in Jewish ethical thought, this book proves to be not a sufficient or satisfactory introduction. Many Hebrew terms are not sufficiently explained, if at all, and that causes some disorientation. Moreover, the specified virtues recur constantly in the chapters although there are some more or less slight aberrations. That's exhausting and hints that the conception of the book is more for rabbinic purpose - for people who want to have an overview over ancient personages at all costs - than for interested outsiders who want to understand the core and don't want to be molested with too much repetitions. But of course, the reader will get some information about important Jewish thinkers and of their books, although in relative short chapters with the focus on virtue, only.

Jürgen Czogalla, 25.02.2024