Brave New Judaism: When Science and Scripture Collide

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University Press of New England [for] Brandeis University Press, 2002 - Religion - 287 pages
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Clones, genetically modified foods, frozen embryos, stem cells, gene therapy: these are some of the new discoveries and scientific developments that are guaranteed to change our lives and our society forever. How does Judaism, an ancient religion, come to terms with such dramatic changes? This insightful book explores Jewish reactions to cutting-edge biological issues that continue to dominate the headlines.

Does Jewish law permit production and use of stem cells, gene therapy, and human cloning? Is it permissib le to produce and eat bioengineered foods? How do assisted reproductive technologies affect the definition of parenthood and who is a Jew? Are there "Jewish genes" that define Jews as a unique group? Do Jewish disease genes stigmatize the Jewish people?

Miryam Z. Wahrman addresses these and other questions by examining how Judaism interprets and responds to recent advances in biomedical science. Presenting bioethical principles derived from traditional Judaic sources, she shows how contemporary rabbis and Judaica scholars have interpreted these texts in light of radical new biotechnologies such as infertility treatments, genetic testing, sex selection, and bioengineered food. Taking into account Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform perspectives, she shows that different denominations can react to novel technologies in unpredictable ways. For example, there are numerous instances where Orthodox sources are more accepting of technology than the other branches of Judaism.

Brave New Judaism offers a broad Jewish perspective on compelling issues, showing how Judaism has coped with current scientific inventions and technologies, and how Jewish law has creatively kept pace with the modern world.

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Brave new Judaism: when science and scripture collide

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A professor and columnist on science and Judaism for America Online, Wahrman (biology, William Patterson Univ.) explores the many ethical and theological challenges posed to Orthodox, Conservative ... Read full review


Bioethics and the Jewish Spectrum
Fruit of the Womb
Male Infertility

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About the author (2002)

Miryam Z. Wahrman is Professor of Biology at WilliamPaterson University of New Jersey, where she co-directs the Center forHolocaust and Genocide Studies. A popular writer, lecturer, and experton the subject of science and Judaism, she is science correspondent forthe New Jersey Jewish Standard and Jewish CommunityNews, and writes a column on science and Judaism for AmericaOnline.

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