This class will be oriented to issues of law, ethics, principles of justice and basic virtues that concern all good citizens irrespective of their faith. We will explore the treatment of these issues in the ancient texts of the Talmud, and uncover wisdom that shapes contemporary society.
The Talmud is a record of discussions conducted over many centuries by great Jewish sages who were seeking meaning in Biblical verses to guide proper conduct in life. One of the six Orders of the Talmud is Nezikin, or Damages. It covers matters that we today would call the basis of civil and criminal law and court procedures. Delving into this centuries-old "conversation" is a remarkable experience. At the surface, it is fascinating simply to see the degree of universality in the legal principles being addressed. Yet there is even more below the surface. There are notions of justice that underlie the legal principles; there are ethical elements beneath the notions of justice; and, at the deepest levels of the discussion there are often truths expressed as beautifully as one would expect to find inthe very best literature.
We'll look at three or four passages from the Nezikin in each of the six
sessions. The sessions will be highly interactive, with time for an abundance
of questions and discussions.