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Natural-Law Judaism?: The Genesis Of Bioethics In Hans Jonas, Leo Strauss, And Leon Kass

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Chapter Summary

For Leon Kass a satisfactory account of human dignity must go beyond what ?unaided reason? can tell us about human nature. He offers an interpretation of sexuality and reproduction based on Genesis to ?correct? Hans Jonas?s philosophy of nature. Kass?s appropriation of Jonas is deeply influenced by the work of another Jewish thinker of University of Chicago fame, Leo Strauss. Kass understanding of Judaism, however, supports a position quite close to what William Galston has called the ?Catholicevangelical entente?. If Kass?s case for revelation is really a version of natural theology, then his position confronts the familiar criticisms of natural-law ethics, and, the author have argued, Jonas?s minimalist version of natural law fares better. For Leo Strauss, ?Jerusalem? was a symbol for the recovery of Jewish identity-a kind of ?inner Judaism? in his own case-against a modernity whose ?enlightened? solution to ?the Jewish question?-namely, assimilation-had proven to be a disaste.

Keywords: Genesis; Hans Jonas; human dignity; Jerusalem; Judaism; Leo Strauss; Leon Kass



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