Jewish Sensibilities


One goal of Textual Reasoning has been to address issues of Jewish ethics, law, and practice in ways that are neither reduced to the concept-only style of modern academic ethics, nor preserved in the time-, text-, and community-specific terms of rabbinic jurisprudence. In his 2004 PhD dissertation at UVA (Recovering Jewish Virtue Ethics) and in several AJS presentations, JTR contributing editor Dov Nelkin has offered one alternative that should be of great interest to textual reasoners: a rabbinic virtue theory that brings clarity to the norms of rabbinic practice without over-generalizing such norms into reified principles. This issue of JTR introduces another significant contribution to a TR approach to Jewish ethics. Vanessa Ochs’ essay on “Jewish Sensibilities” urges several moves that may challenge the interpretive habits of both modern Jewish ethicists and traditional rabbinic scholars.

Primary Essay