'I have known Professor Novak for several decades. I have not ceased to be astonished by his versatility, by his thorough familiarity with the full range of classical Jewish literature, and by his talent for finding matching analogies in general world literature. He combines both the traditional scholar's facility in conceptual analysis with the critical scholar's insistence upon exactitude and accuracy. Only Professor Novak with his profound knowledge of Judaica and his acumen in philosophy could have written such a sensible and reliable book on Natural Law in Judaism which embraces also law, philosophy and ethics. The manner in which he integrates these subjects is a scholarly feat, the intellect at its best.' David Weiss Halivni, Columbia University
'While the phrase 'natural law' is not common among Jewish thinkers, who tent to polarise between those who insist on the utter particularity of the Torah and those who settle for a secular human rights agenda, David Novak shows how the reality is presupposed for there to be a people addressed by Torah: natural law is the cardinal presupposition of Sinai! Novak's critical retrieval of classical sources of Maimonides and Nachmanides is coupled with a clear insistence that without an effective natural law the universal significance of the genocide at Auschwitz will inevitably be diverted into a monopolizing claim to victimhood. In short, Judaism needs natural law not just to find common space with others, but to be its authentic self.' David Burrell, University of Notre Dame
'In this remarkable book David Novak has provided the most compelling account and defense of natural law we have had in modernity. His book hopefully will be read as eagerly by Christians as Jews. We all have much to learn from Novak not only as a philosopher but particularly as a theologian.' Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University
'[Novak's] book will be of value not only to participants in the current debate about natural law but to anyone interested in contemporary intellectual and social implications of biblical interpretation.' Society for Old Testament Study
' … Novak's argument … addresses the dilemmas of Jewish modernity determined by three momentous experiences: civil emancipation, the Holocaust, and the establishment of the State of Israel. His book will be of value not only to participants in the current debate about natural law but to anyone interested in contemporary intellectual and social implications of biblical interpretation.' Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
Natural law is the idea that our basic moral principles are universal. Most people have assumed that an idea like natural law must be foreign to Judaism because of its specific historical revelation and tradition. This 1998 book shows that natural law is part of Judaism, and that it is consistent with this specific revelation and tradition.