Lazarus, M.

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Frankfurt: J. Kauffmann, 1899. Half cloth; 8vo. Xxv, 469 pages. Marbled edges. In German. "Drittes stausend. " Bibliographical notes and index. Lazarus was a German philosopher and psychologist; Ethik des Judentums was his major work. In it, "Lazarus presents Jewish ethics as an 'objective-immanent' system. This system is based on an empirical, positivistic approach toward Jewish studies which holds that Jewish teachings on any subject must be derived from an analysis of Jewish sources. In selecting this approach, Lazarus departs from the 'constructive-speculative' philosophies of his 19th-century predecessors Solomon Formstecher and Samuel Hirsch, who brought a philosophic formalism to the analysis of the Jewish sources. Thus, philosophy, according to Lazarus, does not provide a preexistent scheme for Wissenschaft des Judentums ('Science of Judaism') , but is a methodological aid for discovering the objective unity of the "ethical cosmos, " as it appears throughout the Jewish literary tradition. Lazarus distinguishes between the subjective-formal approach to Jewish ethics, in which a philosophic formalism provides the starting point of investigation, and the objective-content one, in which the investigation begins with the sources themselves. He takes the latter approach as his own. He does this because in biblical and rabbinic literature, will, intent, and the Jewish way of life, rather than reflection and speculation, are the primary principles. (Franz Rosenzweig later based his existential philosophy on the same idea. ) Lazarus accepts this position for another reason: A Jewish ethical world view based on this conception possesses greater depth and clarity than one based on formal concepts and theoretical speculation. Lazarus emphasizes the religious character of obligation in Jewish ethics. God is the supreme, hidden principle on whom Judaism depends and who makes its whole legal structure necessary. Lazarus conceives of Jewish ethics in line with the autonomous ethics of Kant, holding that the absolute characteristic of Jewish ethics is expressed in immediate inner certainty, though he does not follow Kant completely. Such conceptualization was made possible by establishing an ethical norm as the highest source of the moral imperative, to which even God is subordinate. Lazarus was ambiguous with regard to the heteronomous character of Jewish ethics, and this ambiguity was the basis of attack against his system, both by those who accused him of inconsistency and by those who held that he had not done justice to the heteronomous character of Jewish ethics. In Lazarus' conception Jewish ethics is fundamentally social-universal. This position countered the particularist trends of Judaism and, in particular, of 19th-century Jewish theology. However, the fact of a universal aspect to Jewish ethics does not entail teaching and disseminating Jewish beliefs throughout the world. Rather, its existence reflects an attitude and a total way of life, based on the threefold conception God, the world, and mankind, that Jews should embrace. The central concept underlying this view of Jewish life is holiness. Holiness, according to Lazarus, is not numinous, nor transcendental, but a quality to be embodied in human life. It is defined as the 'ultimate goal of morality. '" (Moshe Schwarcz, EJ) SUBJECT(S) : Jewish ethics. Ethics. Edgeworn; boards scuffed. Most of backstrip gone. Front hinge starting. Usual age staining. Few notes in pencil. Interior in good condition. (GR-2-8). N° de réf. du libraire 15984

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