Judaism and Theology in Martha Nussbaum's Ethics [Book Review]

Journal of Religious Ethics 31 (2):343 - 359 (2003)
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The writings of Martha Nussbaum broadly defend an account of transcendence as internal, always rooted in the human context. Her account implies that any and all projects of normative theological ethics are superfluous, since they transcend the natural bounds of human experience and reason. This essay points toward a space for theology, specifically Jewish theology, in Nussbaum's work, through an analysis of her recent philosophical and autobiographical writings on Judaism. Nussbaum's account in Upheavals of Thought associates Judaism with carnality and vulnerability; this essay supplements her account by pointing to a non-natural origin of emotional judgments in some of the texts Nussbaum treats. This move serves to temper the emphasis on autonomy in liberal Jewish thought, and provides an account of transcendence which can serve as the basis of a more traditional Jewish theological ethics



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