Abortion in Judaism by Daniel Schiff

By Daniel Schiff

Abortion in Judaism provides an entire Jewish felony historical past of abortion from the earliest proper biblical references during the finish of the 20th century. For the 1st time, nearly each Jewish textual content appropriate to the abortion factor is explored intimately. those texts are investigated in historic series, thereby elucidating the advance inherent in the Jewish method of abortion. The paintings considers the insights that this thematic background presents into Jewish moral ideas, in addition to into the function of halakhah inside of Judaism.

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Given that the fetus was not designated as a nefesh or an adam (human) or an ish (man), and was, therefore, without any legal standing as a “person,” the category of murder was altogether inapplicable. Though the Tannaìim never actually provided a reasoned defense of this position, it might be assumed that the Torah’s disavowal of feticide as a capital crime must have contained a sufficiently compelling logic that the early rabbis saw no need to question it. It is predictable, then, that the Midrash explicitly reiterates that feticide is a crime that calls for a monetary penalty.

There can be little doubt that in arriving at these views Philo leaned heavily towards the Platonic outlook that the fetus was an independent being. This is well illustrated by Philo’s understanding of the law of Leviticus :, where the Torah commands that one should not kill an animal together with its young on the same day. ” The fact that the killing of the fetus may have been an accidental result of the “contest” does not appear, in Philo’s presentation, to mitigate the consequences.

Both cited in Aptowitzer, “Criminal Law,” –, n. . ” Other explanations could be advanced. It is conceivable, for example, that Josephus was attempting to make a differentiation between the case of an induced miscarriage that is caused by an aggressor, in which the resultant harm could have been unintentional, and the instance of a woman who aborts her own fetus. In the Middle Assyrian Laws, the former case generally resulted in a fine, while the latter was the cause of repugnance and death for the perpetrator; Josephus may be trying to replicate this pattern by articulating a far more stringent standard for the woman who deliberately self-aborts.

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