Jewish and Catholic Bioethics

An Ecumenical Dialogue

Edmund D. Pellegrino and Alan I. Faden, Editors

"Begins an important dialogue on common issues of concern to both Jewish and Catholic ethicists today."
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Drawing on multiple interconnected scriptural and spiritual sources, the Jewish tradition of ethical reflection is intricate and nuanced. This book presents scholarly Jewish perspectives on suffering, healing, life, and death, and it compares them with contemporary Christian and secular views.

The Jewish perspectives presented in this book are mainly those of orthodox scholars, with the responses representing primarily Christian-Catholic points of view. Readers unfamiliar with the Jewish tradition will find here a practical introduction to its major voices, from Spinoza to Jewish religious law. The contributors explore such issues as active and passive euthanasia, abortion, assisted reproduction, genetic screening, and health care delivery.

Offering a thoughtful and thought-provoking dialogue between Jewish and Christian scholars, Jewish and Catholic Bioethics is an important contribution to ecumenical understanding in the realm of health care.

Table of Contents

Issues In Biomedical Ethics

Comparison of Jewish and Christian Perspectives
Alan I. Faden, MD

Section I

Spinoza and Judaism
Tom L. Beauchamp

Section II

Jewish Reflections on Life and Death Decision Making
Baruch A. Brody

Jewish Teaching on the Sanctity and Quality of Life
Ronald Green

The Jewish Approach to Living and Dying
Shimon Glick, MD

The Sanctity of Human Life Doctrine
David C. Thomasma

Section III

The Meaning of Suffering: A Jewish Perspective
Avraham Steinberg, MD

The Meaning of Suffering?
James Keenan, SJ

Section IV

The Imperative to Heal in Traditional Judaism
Fred Rosner, MD, FACP

On the Interface of Religion and Medical Science: The Judeo-Biblical Perspective
Rabbi Moshe Tendler

Healing and Being Healed: A Christian Perspective
Edmund D. Pellegrino, MD

A Catholic Christian Perspective on Early Human Development
Rev. J.D. Cassidy, OP


Religion and Bioethical Discourse
Edmund D. Pellegrino, MD


"Begins an important dialogue on common issues of concern to both Jewish and Catholic ethicists today."—Choice

"An excellent book for students and health professionals who are inspired by the Hebrew Bible and/or the Christian New Testament."—Australasion Catholic Record

"Advance[s] the important and much-needed discussions in this area [and] succeeds in laying claim to the importance of religious views in bioethical discourse."—Religious Studies Review

"Life, death, suffering and meaning are the primary texts of contemporary biomedicine.… this ground breaking conversation among some of today's most insightful Jewish and Christian bioethicists challenges us to explore these texts with both passion and perspective."— Michael A. Grodin, MD, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health

"A probing combination of Jewish, Christian and secular thought. This volume challenges many preconceptions about fundamental ethical beliefs of major religions."—Kevin O'Rourke, OP, Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Edmund D. Pellegrino, MD, is the chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, and professor emeritus of medicine and medical ethics, Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center. He is the author of numerous books, including Helping and Healing: Religious Commitment in Health Care and The Christian Virtues in Medical Practice (both published by Georgetown University Press).

Alan I. Faden, MD
, is a professor of neuroscience, neurology, and pharmacology at the Georgetown University Medical Center. He is coauthor of Medical Harm: Historical, Conceptual and Ethical Dimensions of Iatrogenic Illness.

256 pp., 6 x 9

Oct 1999

256 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-0-87840-746-0
Oct 1999

256 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-350-6
Oct 1999

Moral Traditions series
David Cloutier, Darlene Weaver, and Andrea Vicini, SJ

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