In Defense of Religious Liberty (American Ideals & Institutions)
By: David Novak (author)Paperback
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In "Defense of Religious Lierty" presents David Novak's vigorous - and paradoxical - argument that the primacy of divine law is the best foundation for a secular, multicultural democracy. Novak presses his claim, which will astound both liberal and conservative advocates of democracy, in political, philosophical, and theological terms. He shows how the universal norms of divine law are knowable as natural law, that they are the best formulations of the human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that their assertion includes an explicit recognition of God as cosmic lawgiver. Furthermore, Novak maintains that the seemingly disparate ideas of divine command, natural law, and human rights can be integrated into one overall political theory.Novak reveals this integration at work in the classical texts of his own Jewish tradition, as well as in the canonical philosophical tradition of the West, from Plato to the Stoics to Grotius to Kant.
He also convincingly makes the case that those who reject any legitimate role for religion in discussions of public morality inevitably substitute arbitrary human power for divine command, arbitrary positive law for natural law, and arbitrary governmental entitlements for human rights that exist prior to the establishment of the state. Novak concludes that religious traditions like Judaism, precisely because they incorporate the doctrines of God the cosmic lawgiver, natural law, and human rights, provide the most coherent ontological foundation for democracy in today's world.
David Novak is the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. A philosopher and theologian, he holds degrees from the University of Chicago and Georgetown University and a rabbinical diploma from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Novak's books include Covenantal Rights: A Study in Jewish Political Theory, Talking with Christians: Musings of a Jewish Theologian, and The Sanctity of Human Life.
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- ID: 9781933859767
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