Sokol is associate professor and Chair of the Philosophy
Department at Touro College in New York City, and a member of its Graduate
Faculty of Jewish Studies. He is author of numerous essays on Jewish
ethics and philosophy, and editor of Engaging Modernity, Rabbinic
Authority and Personal Autonomy and the forthcoming Tolerance,
Dissent and Democracy: Philosophical, Historical and Halakhic
Perspectives. Over the past several years, Sokol has participated in
and taught or delivered papers at various conferences and sessions on
Judaism and the environment.
Abstract of paper given at
Judaism and Ecology conference:
This paper critically examines the ethical implications of Jewish theological conceptions of the natural world. Much of the literature on the subject focuses on Jewish theocentrism, and on immanentist versus transcendentist conceptions of God's relationship to the world. Using these two approaches as case studies, I argue that the difficulties in drawing ethical conclusions from Jewish theological premises are far greater than first meet the eye, for a variety of reasons which I attempt to elucidate. I conclude with three positive suggestions for engaging in ethically significant theological reflection, which I call "environmental virtue," "textual theology," and "halakhic theology."