Religions of the World and Ecology home

Moshe 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:
What Are the Ethical Implications of Jewish Theological Conceptions of Nature?

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."

Back to Judaism and Ecology conference participants