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Judaic Sources and Western ThoughtJerusalem's Enduring Presence$
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Jonathan Jacobs

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583157.001.0001

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The Durability of Goodness

The Durability of Goodness

(p.21) 1 The Durability of Goodness
Judaic Sources and Western Thought

Alan Mittleman

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the Book of Genesis, both in itself and as refracted by subsequent Jewish interpretation, affirms the goodness of being. Goodness is primary (vis-à-vis evil, which is derivative) and immanent in creation. Jewish understandings of metaphysics and ethics are informed by this radical assertion of the goodness of creation. Platonic and Aristotelian understandings of goodness overlap with biblical and Jewish ones but differ crucially as well. The nature and consequences of these differences are explored with particular attention to the significance of tragedy. The discussion connects biblical themes with some central issues of metaethics.

Keywords:   goodness of creation, goodness, fragility and durability, wisdom of tragedy, Maimonides, value incommensurability, God and goodness, Book of Genesis, Book of Jonah

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