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Natural LawA Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue$
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Anver M. Emon, Matthew Levering, and David Novak

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198706601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198706601.001.0001

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Natural Law and Judaism

Natural Law and Judaism

(p.4) 1 Natural Law and Judaism
Natural Law

David Novak

Oxford University Press

The idea of natural law, when employed by a revelation-based religion like Judaism, proposes that there are certain basic moral norms that oblige all human persons, and that these norms are known through rational reflection on universal human interaction. The “law” in natural “law” refers to the fact that human nature is primarily a normative idea. The authority of natural law does not come from the Jewish (or any other) tradition; instead, the Jewish tradition recognizes that the authority of natural law comes from the Creator God whose rational commandments are evident to all reasonable human persons. Although the term “natural law” (dat tiv`it) does not come into Jewish discourse until the early fifteenth century, the idea of natural law is (arguably) present in the rabbinic concept of “Noahide law.”.

Keywords:   God, Judaism, natural law, Noahide law, tradition, rational reflection, revelation, authority

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