Talmudic Ethics and its Reliance on Values Rather than Rules

39 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2018

See all articles by Hershey H. Friedman

Hershey H. Friedman

City University of New York - Department of Business Management

Date Written: July 27, 2018

Abstract

The question as to whether ethics should be rule-driven or value-driven has been addressed by several professional organizations. There is a belief by some organizations that overemphasizing rules can actually result in unethical behavior. People will do everything to game the rules and not be concerned with ethics. The sages of the Talmud recognized the danger of making religion rule-based and therefore came up with several legal devices to improve the law and make it more ethical. Indeed, the Talmud blamed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple by the Romans on the fact that people insisted on following the strict letter of Torah law and not doing more than the law required. The major device used to enhance the law and make it more value based was the use of aggadah, the non-legal side of the Talmud that includes narratives and maxims.

Keywords: Rule-driven Ethics, Value-driven Ethics, Morality and Law, Talmud, Torah, Aggadah, Justice, Moral Judgment in Law, Going Beyond the Strict Letter of the Law, Way of the Pious

JEL Classification: J50, M12, M14, M54

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Hershey H., Talmudic Ethics and its Reliance on Values Rather than Rules (July 27, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3221295 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3221295

Hershey H. Friedman (Contact Author)

City University of New York - Department of Business Management ( email )

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