Two new books about the O.T.greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
The following book reviews were emailed to me by the American Enterprise Institute. The subject matter is rich and comprehensive. While the reviews are long, Professor Novak does an excellent job in outlining the strengths and weaknesses of each book. If you really value reading 1st tier scholarship this is for you. QED
Ideas and Idols By David Novak Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 ARTICLES The New Republic Publication Date: May 12, 2003 The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis By Leon R. Kass (Free Press, 576 pp., $35)
The Prophets: Who They Were, What They Are By Norman Podhoretz (Free Press, 400 pp., $30)
Reading the Bible has once again become a prominent activity in American culture, a primary element of many discussions about "politics"--not politics as tactics and procedures in the usual sense, but politics in a philosophical sense, which is about the public nature of human existence in this world. Both friend (notably the president of the United States) and foe regard the Bible as a founding document, if not the founding document, of Western political culture. Moreover, the new political interest is directed significantly toward the Hebrew Bible, or the "Old Testament," which (much more than the New Testament) is a profoundly political book; this was noticed long ago by thinkers as divergent as Spinoza and Nietzsche, but it is being noticed again today. Leon R. Kass's and Norman Podhoretz's books are both political reflections on the Bible. They have similar political concerns, though they are of different intellectual value.
There are three schools, I think, three philosophical programs, in contemporary political readings of the Bible. First, there are what might be termed "radical" readings. The radicals (many of whom see themselves as revolutionaries) would like to "deconstruct" the political culture of the West at its roots, which they correctly locate in the Bible. If the enemy here is "hierarchy," and especially "patriarchy," then the Bible is the source from which the enemy still emanates. For the radicals, this reactionary quality of Scripture requires a continual "working through" of what or who is still oppressing us. Certain feminist readings of the Bible exemplify this approach.
Second, there are the "liberal" or "democratic" readings of the Bible, according to which the Bible contains both a "particularistic" concern and a "universalistic" concern. The particularistic concern is with ritual and cult: this comprises the Jewish people's traditional relationship with their God. The universalistic concern is with ethics: this pertains to human relations generally. Liberal readers like to regard the ethical concern of the Bible as primary and the ritual concern as valid only when it serves to fortify an ethical culture. The liberals want to use the Bible to develop what they see to be the still largely ethical potential in the political culture of the West, a culture to whose moral leadership they often lay claim.
Third, there is the "conservative" reading of the Bible. Unlike the radical reading and the liberal reading, the conservative reading does not divide the text of the Bible against itself. It wishes to strengthen the traditional moral principles of Western civilization, principles that it sees as being originally taught by the Bible. This restorative endeavor is best accomplished when the text of the Bible is taken to be true in its unified message. Here is where Kass and Podhoretz enter the conversation. Although they are conservatives, they are not fundamentalists who reject out of hand any suggestion that the text of the Bible might stem from different authors. Still, they avoid that historical question by confining their attention to the biblical texts as we have received them from their final redactor. In fact, both Kass and Podhoretz question whether modern biblical scholarship, with its incessant breakdown of the text into various competing fragments, has not hindered the philosophical attempt to derive any coherent meaning from the Bible, let alone any lasting truth from it. For this reason, they resort to modern biblical scholarship quite sparsely.
Kass and Podhoretz are neoconservatives: over the years they have moved (Podhoretz more explicitly) from more liberal political positions to more conservative ones. A liberal might be seen as someone who thinks that our society needs to progress toward its still largely unfulfilled democratic ideals, whereas a conservative might be seen as someone who thinks that our society has lost too much of its traditional morality and needs to retrieve it. The philosophical part of that conservative retrieval involves a return to the roots of Western civilization in general, and of the American founding in particular; and those roots, as Leo Strauss most famously taught, are to be found in the relation between biblical revelation and Greek philosophy. Kass and Podhoretz have come to mine the biblical side of this perennial relation in Western political culture.
Kass and Podhoretz are also Jews, religiously identifiable Jews. In their books both disclose that they attend synagogues and participate in Jewish rituals, even though both seem somewhat embarrassed that, as Kass puts it, "my practice is still wanting." So it is no accident that each man should look to biblical roots for his philosophical bearings in the world of politics. Whether or not the Bible is the founding document of America, it is the founding document of Judaism. In fact, one of the major aspects of Kass's retrieval of the Bible is his strong assertion that "one can deduce absolutely nothing moral" from the scientific-metaphysical reflections of the Greek philosophers, meaning Plato and especially Aristotle. That this admission comes from a scientist-philosopher such as Kass, whom many take to be a great contemporary advocate of an Aristotelian view of nature, is one of the most delightful surprises in his very remarkable book. Aristotle was a great moral philosopher, but Kass does not seem to think that Aristotle's moral philosophy stems from his metaphysics. And on questions of familial-sexual morality, Kass finds even his cherished Aristotle wanting.
Podhoretz's book portrays the prophets of ancient Israel as having been engaged in a sustained, consistent, but only partially effective polemic. He calls his account of the prophets "the story of a war." In this war they won some impressive victories in their time, but they could not totally vanquish "this enemy" who "keeps coming back." So Podhoretz, himself an accomplished polemicist (a word that comes from polemos, the Greek word for "war"), comes to his subject with a good deal of sympathy. The object of the prophetic polemic was idolatry. The object of Podhoretz's polemic is liberalism. Podhoretz believes that his war with liberals is a continuation of the prophets' war against idol-worshippers. Thus he focuses particular attention on the liberals' use of the Bible, calling their reading--or, for him, their misreading--by a rather inelegant neologism, "liberological." In this way, he makes his own polemic much more than a debate over policies and procedures. He transforms it into a perennial philosophical battle. He also tries to show (often quite convincingly) that when liberals employ the Bible for their purposes, they do so badly.
What is idolatry? Podhoretz defines it as apostasy or syncretism. Apostasy-- literally, "standing away from"--is "putting other gods before Him." Syncretism is "putting other gods beside Him." The "Him" in these definitions is the Lord God, the one creator of heaven and earth, who has chosen Israel for a special relationship between himself and them called a b'rit or "covenant." Idolatry, then, is the primary negation of the covenantal relationship between God and Israel. Whether replaced or compromised, this God has been dethroned by any kind of idolatry. Heavily relying on the Israeli scholar Yehezkel Kaufmann, Podhoretz takes this covenantal relationship to be "monotheism," which is not only the worship of one God but, more essentially, the worship of one God because there are no "other gods." What others call "gods" are really creatures that human beings have chosen to deify or invent for themselves. Their "idols" or icons are humanly invented symbols of these created powers, and so they are twice removed from the one true God.
While idolatry might be excusable among the Gentiles, who have no covenantal relationship with God (although there are occasional Gentile monotheists mentioned in the Bible, Job being the most prominent), it is inexcusable among the Jews, because of what they know from the very beginnings of their history. Thus Podhoretz accepts Kaufmann's view--which the latter articulated in opposition to most modern, critical Bible scholars--that monotheism was always the religion of Israel, and that idolatry was always an attempt to include in the covenantal relationship something essentially foreign and antithetical to it. Monotheism is not an ideal toward which the religion of Israel gradually and haltingly aspired in its historical emergence out of idolatry; monotheism is what the religion of Israel always presupposed.
So far, so good. But only so far. For Podhoretz's larger argument fails on theological, philosophical, and even polemical grounds. In his theological argument with the liberals, Podhoretz rightly asserts a number of times that, for the prophets, fidelity to God "embraces both ritual and morality." Thus idolaters such as King Ahab, the epitome of an idolatrous ruler (who was goaded by his wife Jezebel, a foreign queen), and his whole regime "embodied a perfect synthesis of idolatry and social oppression." This is an adequate designation of both the covenant and its obverse, but Podhoretz does not explain why this is so. He can meet the liberal theory of "morality over ritual" with counterexamples, but he cannot offer a better explanation of the relation of ritual and morality in the covenant and why idolatry so radically subverts it. Not having presented a sufficient account of the covenant, Podhoretz is unable to show us exactly why idolatry is so religiously odious and so politically dangerous. He rushes to treat the idolatrous negation of the covenant without having paid sufficient attention to what it is negating. He is off to the war before fully appreciating the homeland for which the war is being fought.
The reason that the covenant is a synthesis of ritual (of which God is the direct object) and morality (of which fellow humans are the direct objects) is that the covenant is actually twofold. First, there is the Noahide covenant, which was made by God with all humankind after Noah and his family's survival of the Flood that destroyed the rest of humankind, who had descended to a subhuman moral level. From this covenant, all the basic morality needed by humankind is available to universal, human, political experience. This morality is then formulated by human reason. (On this point Kass is brilliant.) Whatever morality emerges from God's special revelation to Israel makes greater demands on the chosen people without annulling the earlier universal morality. That is why the prophets can address moral admonitions not only to Israel, but also to the Gentiles.
And then there is God's covenant with Israel alone. This covenant fulfills the great lack of the earlier covenant, which did not provide a sufficiently direct and concrete relationship with the Lord God. From this special covenant all ritual is derived. To concentrate on morality at the expense of ritual is to make God a mere prop for an essentially human and humanistic society. To concentrate on ritual at the expense of morality "makes God seem a tribal deity" (in Podhoretz's apt words). Thus a God who does not command ritual is too distant to be loved, and a God who does not command morality is too cozy to be feared.
Idolatry is largely the attempt to provide the people with gods who are too cozy to make any moral demands on them. Lacking the transcendence of the Creator-God, these gods are as needy as the humans who make them gods. That is why humans can do business with them. These gods have more physical power, but humans have more political savvy. The only demand these gods make is for a little ritual attention from their worshippers, for which they are therefore in debt to their worshippers, a debt that these worshippers can call in whenever they have the need to do so. These gods are essentially unlike the Creator-God in whose world we humans, and Israel especially, are guests, not fellow tenants. So whereas the worshippers of God have to first affirm His universal covenant by their moral deeds before they can directly approach Him as the One who chose them, idolaters attempt to evade the universal moral covenant by making their own deals with gods of their choosing. These gods seem to demand less and give more. That is why they are so tempting.
But none of these fundamentals are to be found in Podhoretz's book, and so he is unable to make a theologically effective argument against idolatry that could be more persuasive than that of the liberals. And the failure of Podhoretz's theological rejection of liberalism leads straight to his philosophical confusion. Speaking more philosophically, he asserts that there is a relation between universalism and particularism--that is, between universalism associated with morality and particularism associated with ritual, which, for the Bible, would of course be Jewish ritual or the religious culture of the Jewish people. But what is that relation, and how does it manifest itself politically? He writes that "no contradiction appears between the particular and the universal... God has chosen Israel to be a light unto the nations, but ... the light will shine with full radiance only when Israel, securely restored in Zion, ... then obeys all His laws and statutes." A few pages earlier, he speaks of "a universalism arrived at through particularity."
If I understand him correctly, Podhoretz seems to be saying that the Jews will be able to teach God's law to the world not by assimilating into the world culturally and politically, but when they are intact in their own land observing God's law fully. That full observance is both ritual and moral. Following this logic, though, it would seem that "universalism through particularity" could mean that the Jews have a mission to convert the world to Judaism, thus making what is now particular (that is, what obtains only for the Jews) later universal (that is, what will obtain for everyone). The part will become the whole. Does Podhoretz mean that the Jews have some kind of moral authority over the rest of the world? Then the non-Jews need to learn their morality from Jewish sources. But aren't they supposed, in the biblical genealogy of morals, to already know what is right and what is wrong from the Noahide covenant and its universal law (what some Jewish thinkers, including Kass, regard as the biblical version of natural law)?
At best, the Jews might remind the world from time to time what has always been morally required of human beings and their societies; but anything more than that suggests that Judaism now has a messianic authority, and such a view has no foundation in Jewish sources. In contrast to some kinds of Christianity, Judaism does not claim such a role for itself. To do so would be to exercise a kind of moral, if not political, imperialism--something that Jews ought to be wary of, having themselves been so often the victims of it. This kind of self-congratulatory universalism hardly makes for a philosophically attractive politics. Podhoretz has not thought carefully enough about the philosophical implications of his remarks about particularity and universality in the Bible and in Judaism.
In speaking of "a light unto the nations," Podhoretz is making the same textual mistake as many liberal interpreters of the Bible. (Kass, too, makes this mistake when he speaks of Israel as "advanc$(ing$) the cause of justice in the world," but it is less central to his argument than it is to Podhoretz's.) The passage in Isaiah that supposedly speaks of "a light unto the nations" actually speaks of Israel being am l'or goyim, "a light of the nations." What is the difference between "unto the nations" and "of the nations"? The difference is that the light that shines is not Israel projecting its light toward the nations as a kind of exalted propaganda, but rather God's light shining on Israel, which, when fully radiant in the days of the Messiah, will attract the Gentiles to it, namely, to God, as Israel has been attracted to God. The attraction will be religious, not moral. And even then, according to the great medieval Jewish commentator David Kimhi, the most moral instruction Israel will have to offer the nations of the world will be to remind them of the Noahide laws that they already accepted before they could live in God's world legitimately. The notion of the prophetic "mission of Israel" as universal moral guidance from the Jews was a staple of nineteenth-century Reform and Liberal Judaism, for which Podhoretz has little use--except that he now adapts it to his own purposes.
Podhoretz has the hardest time making a plausible case, let alone a convincing one. He attempts to condemn contemporary liberalism as idolatry by equating it with the "culture of narcissism" (Christopher Lasch's famous phrase), arguing that "idolatry is the cult of self. In politics . . . this species of idolatry has been the prime progenitor of the delusion that we humans are capable of creating a perfect world." For Podhoretz, liberals, with their individualistic cultural talk, are narcissists. But aren't many conservatives, with their discourses of libertarianism and market individualism, just as narcissistic? Anyway, a narcissist is too self-absorbed to be concerned with anyone outside himself, much less with any god above himself. Idolatry can be embraced only by those with enough metaphysical desire to want something beyond themselves, something transcendent. The theological problem of most liberalism is its atheism, not its polytheism or idolatry. The problem with liberalism--even religious liberalism--is that man, not God, is the measure of all things. Perhaps some atheistic liberals sooner or later do succumb to idolatry; but there is no necessary jump from liberalism to idolatry, or at least Podhoretz has not shown one.
Podhoretz's prior political commitments prevent him from identifying what is the best modern candidate for idolatry: nationalism, which I distinguish here from the morally legitimate claims of nationhood or group feeling. Nationalism is the ideology for which the state is a god ("this mortal god," in Hobbes's famous phrase) or automatically expresses God's will for the world (this was Hegel's version of the sin), with no recourse to any higher court that could overrule its pseudo-divine claims. The most egregious forms of this idolatrous nationalism have been fascism and communism and the nation-states that they dominated or still dominate. (I write as statues of Saddam Hussein are being pulled down in the streets of Baghdad.) Indeed, nationalism even tempts (but thankfully does not dominate) deeply democratic nation-states such as the United States and Israel, with which Podhoretz identifies. Here, unlike the politically benign narcissism of the individual, we have collective narcissism, which is dangerous politically and religiously because of its projections into the world in the form of conquest.
Had he been philosophically bold enough to follow the prophetic fight against idolatry to wherever in history its logic leads, Podhoretz might have associated himself with the genuinely anti-idolatrous thought of the Israeli-religious philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz. Wasn't Leibowitz a prophet-like voice when he challenged the nationalism of David Ben-Gurion, who successfully turned the rabbinical-religious establishment (with their full cooperation) into a lackey of the state, rather than letting it be a voice to challenge government policies on behalf of the law of God while simultaneously affirming the Jewish legitimacy of the state's existence (as did the true prophets in the Bible)? Didn't Leibowitz see in the reverence for the Israeli state a frightening similarity to the way the idolatrous kings of ancient Israel used the priests of the Temple and the official prophets to provide religious rationalizations for their self-serving realpolitik?
Podhoretz's neoconservative dogmas prevent him from locating the most plausible modern versions of the perennially dangerous idolatry that he rightly abhors. He ought to be able to embrace someone like Leibowitz on theological grounds, but his polemical obsessions make him turn instead even to "socialists and atheists," who "serve God without being aware that he exists." How people who deny that God exists can be effective prophet-like opponents of idolatry is beyond me. Moreover, didn't these socialists have an "other god" in their Marxist ideology? Yet Podhoretz is willing to bless them when they fit into his politics, irrespective of their philosophy and their hostility to theology. On the opposite side, Podhoretz is willing to associate any social practice of which he disapproves with idolatry. He even links the phenomenon of working mothers with the pagan practice of child sacrifice! And so his philosophical argument is undone by his political prejudices.
But philosophy is what Leon R. Kass does best, in the most classical manner. He is determined to read the Bible, in this case the book of Genesis, in "the same spirit in which I read Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics--indeed, any great book--seeking wisdom regarding human life lived well in relation to the whole." To be sure, Kass also has a political agenda--his opponents include Marxists, feminists, and environmentalists, whom he puts in the category of the "anti-wisdoms of modern thought"; but he knows how to keep his politics from overwhelming his philosophy. His main interest is with how human life in community is to be lived. Thus he sees many of the stories in Genesis to be "paradigmatic" anthropologically, dealing with fundamental human situations rather than with particular persons in ancient history. Along these lines, the Garden of Eden story deals with "The Follies of Reason and Freedom"; the story of Noah deals with "Elementary Justice as Law and Covenant"; the story of Abraham deals with "The Meaning of Patriarchy"; and so on. His extraordinary book is one of the most sustained philosophical meditations I have ever encountered. It amply rewards the intellectual effort that it demands.
But how does one read a book "philosophically"? For Kass, philosophy is the exercise of "unaided human reason." He also calls it "inquiry." Due to his affinity with Greek philosophy, I assume he means "theorizing," which comes from the Greek word theorein: to directly gaze at the heavens--where the true, intelligible order, the nature of the universe, shows or reveals itself. But if that is the case, one cannot really inquire into the writings of Plato or Aristotle or any human thinker in such a way, because they engage in discursive reasoning. They do not reveal, they argue. And they make arguments not least about nature, including human nature, which manifests itself in political activity. Still, when reading Plato or Aristotle or any other genuine philosopher, we are engaged in a dialogue with the philosopher's way of seeing nature. In such a dialogue, we are either persuaded by his or her theory regarding nature or we are unpersuaded. So if we are persuaded by, let us say, Aristotle's theory regarding nature, we do not know it by "unaided" reason. Rather, Aristotle has aided us in knowing something significant about nature. If we are unpersuaded, we usually look for someone else to persuade us of the truth of his or her theory. In other words, when disappointed with one aid, we look for another.
It is only when we try to look at the natural datum cold, as it were, that our reason touches up against what is unarguable because it itself is not argued but only revealed. So I have to assume that Kass reads Plato's and Aristotle's works more critically--that is, more discursively--than he reads the Bible, inasmuch as the Bible, certainly Genesis, makes no arguments, but only presents what it proclaims to be truth. The Bible, then, is not just "any great book." Kass himself acknowledges this when he says, in his reading of Genesis, that he wishes "to rely as little as possible on intermediaries," but that this can be no more than "a desired objective." For Kass, moreover, the truth revealed in Genesis is "metaphysical and ethical, not scientific or historical," an assertion that removes him from the company of "creationists" and the like, who want to challenge modern cosmology and biology from a literal reading of the creation accounts in Genesis. He has thus defined the object of his philosophical inquiry with admirable precision. He has located the Bible for political philosophy as masterfully as Northrop Frye located the Bible for a philosophy of Western literature.
In order for Kass to be able to read Genesis philosophically, he has to break with the influence of Leo Strauss, who famously asserted that "the Old Testament does not know 'nature.'" For if this is true, and if philosophy is unaided reason regarding nature, then there is not only no philosophy in the Bible, there is also no way that one could read the Bible philosophically. Kass, a professor at the University of Chicago (where Strauss taught and where some of his disciples still teach), confesses that he makes this break "nervously"--but still he makes it willingly, "in order to bring our study of the biblical text into conversation with other wisdom-seeking activities." In other words, he is determined to find nature in the Bible, and to reflect on it philosophically.
Kass's enterprise requires deriving truth from the biblical text rather than judging whether the text is true or not. He seems to agree with the Talmudic aphorism "If the Torah seems empty to you, the emptiness is yours, not the Torah's." The fact that a finite and fallible human mind cannot grasp all of the Torah's truth does not mean that it is not there. Thus Kass's method is not really different from the more perceptive and less apologetic method of those whom he calls "the traditional readers of the text," even though he seems to think that it is, at least at the very beginning of his book.
Kass's choice of Genesis for his philosophical retrieval of the Bible is wise. For Genesis--especially its first eleven chapters, which deal with the beginnings of humankind--does not require an immediate acceptance of what Kass calls "biblical authority." Rather, it seems to present what he calls "self-evident truths." In other words, unlike other books of the Bible, with their "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots," Genesis does not make immediate theological or moral claims on its readers. Instead it invites the reader to think about its presentations of human nature and, as Kass puts it, "to confirm them by an act of self-reflection." It only gradually leads the reader to the authority of the direct commandments of God. Kass's notion parallels certain medieval Jewish commentators who argued that without the descriptive background of Genesis, the authority of God's commandments in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy would be unintelligible. Genesis allows its readers a greater freedom to ponder its meaning than the other books of the Pentateuch. And Kass has taken full advantage of that freedom to ponder the idea of human nature in Genesis. What he says in this regard is rich and profound.
My only criticism of Kass's extraordinary book has to do with his theological carelessness when speaking of the object of theological inquiry, that is, God. He uses too many synonyms for God. Whereas his continual use of the term "the divine" might work when speaking of God as the distant Creator (but not of God when He chooses Abraham and his descendants), calling the God of the Bible "the wise legislator" or "Being" or "the highest principle of being" suggests an abstract and impersonal Ultimate Reality more akin to Aristotle's Unmoved Mover. These terms seem inadequate to the God of the Bible who is not only loved but also loves. Kass seems to be uncomfortable with traditional God-talk. I wish that he had given the reasons for his discomfort.
Whereas the first eleven chapters of Genesis deal with humankind and human nature, the rest of the book deals with the history of a particular clan on its way to becoming a people, the people of Israel. In dealing with this material, Kass has chosen to concentrate his attention on the issue of family, which seems to be the predominant theme in the second part of Genesis. In his words, "decent, honorable, and reverent family life is itself a central goal of the new national-political teaching." Thus, for example, Kass sees in the story of Noah's degradation, drunk and naked in his tent after surviving the flood, the loss of "his paternal authority and his very humanity." In other words, a father needs to act in a way that his children will be proud of, not ashamed of, so that his children, like Noah's sons, will not have to "cover their father's nakedness." Here is where Kass's political interests come to the fore; but he never turns the biblical text into a pretext. He comes to the Bible for light in the political darkness, not for weapons with which to wage war on his political enemies. (And from a political perspective, it is a delight to see throughout this book Kass's expressions of indebtedness to his students, whom he mentions frequently and by name.)
In his reading of Genesis, Kass wants to discover the importance of the family--traditionally understood as father, mother, children, and extended relatives. Kass is a traditionalist, but he is not a sentimentalist; he does not lower himself to the kind of psychologizing (best exemplified by Bill Moyers's television series on Genesis) that judges the stories in Genesis by the standards of "family dynamics" or the like. Instead, his treatment of the patriarchal family presented in Genesis is metaphysical and ethical. He is engaged in what philosophers today call "virtue theory," seeing in the characters of Genesis exemplars to be imitated (except when they are clearly villains, such as Cain or Laban). Moreover, Kass argues that patriarchy (and hierarchy in general) is not the oppression the radicals think it is, or the primitiveness the liberals think it is. Thus, when discussing the patriarchal act of infant circumcision, which to many suggests a man's authority even to mutilate his own male child, Kass sees it as "a taming of maleness," putting men into the service of the (more traditionally womanly) work of child rearing. Instead of emphasizing "virility and potency," it subordinates them to the task of covenantal transmission. Thus, for him, Genesis not only teaches us how a family ought to function; it more importantly teaches us why the family is the primary (although certainly not the exclusive) locus of human flourishing. Confronted with the Bible's recognition of this truth, Kass transfers his affections from Aristotle.
Conservatives can learn a great deal from Leon R. Kass, but it does not come for free. This is because he is not interested in the type of economically obsessed conservatism that in the end turns out to be but an earlier form of modern liberalism. He also veers away from the political fascination with Greek philosophy of many conservative intellectuals, especially the Straussians. In short, he requires us to rethink what we hold dear from Western political culture by going back to its still-living roots in the Bible. This might not require a leap of faith, but it does require jumping over political prejudices that have turned out to be, as the Bible says, "broken wells that hold no water."
David Novak is a professor of Jewish studies at the University of Toronto and the author of Natural Law in Judaism (Cambridge University Press).
-- Anonymous, May 30, 2003