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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 23, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2003

Dov Nelkin
Pages 119-153
DOI: 10.5840/jsce20032327

"A Threefold Cord Is Not Quickly Broken"
Virtue, Law, and Ethics in the Talmud

Jewish ethics has more in common with the burgeoning field of virtue ethics than generally has been acknowledged within the discourse of contemporary religious ethics. This paper describes the virtue ethics present in the Talmud and other rabbinic texts. Missing from many of the arguments in support of virtue ethics is space for other approaches to ethics, including act-evaluation and the codification of at least some ethical decisions into (moral) law. The approach to virtue ethics found in the Talmud overcomes this dichotomy. Therefore, it is advantageous to bring these Talmudic texts concerned with character and virtue into dialogue with contemporary virtue ethics.

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