In Jewish JusticeDavid Novak explores the continuing role of Judaism for crafting ethics, politics, and theology. Drawing on sources as diverse as the Bible, the Talmud, and ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy, Novak asserts Judaism's integral place incommunaldiscourse of the public square.
According to Novak, biblical revelation has universal implications?that it is ultimately God's law to humanity because humans made in God’s image are capable of making intelligent moral choices. The universality of this claim, however,stands in tension with the particularities of Jewish monotheism (one God, one people, one law). Novak’schallenge isforJudaism to capitalize on the way God’s law transcends particularity without destroying difference. Thus it is as Jews that Jews arecalledto join communitiesacross the faithful denominations, as well assecular ones,to engage in debates about the common good.
Jewish Justicefollows a logical progression from grounded ethical quandaries to larger philosophicaldebates.Novak begins by considering the practical issues of capital punishment, mutilation and torture, corporate crime, the landed status of communities and nations, civil marriage,and religious marriage. He next moves to a consideration of theoretical concerns: God’s universal justice, the universal aim of particular Jewish ethics, human rights andthe image of God, the relation of post-Enlightenment social contract theory to the recently enfranchised Jewish community, andthe voicesof Jewish citizens in secular politics andthe public sphere. Novak also explores the intersection of universality and particularity by examining the practice ofinterfaith dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.