Jew­ish Bio­med­ical Law: Jew­ish Law Asso­ci­a­tion Stud­ies XV

Daniel B. Sin­clair, ed.
  • Review
By – July 16, 2012

The good news for prac­ti­tion­ers, stu­dents, and Jews find­ing them­selves in need of halakhic inter­pre­ta­tion of bio­med­ical ques­tions is that the rab­bis, over the cen­turies, spent a lot of time deal­ing with mat­ters of life and death. Hence, there is abun­dant case law, as it were, to offer answers to today’s most com­plex bio­med­ical questions. 

The Jew­ish Law Asso­ci­a­tion, as part of its mis­sion, pub­lish­es a year­book on spe­cif­ic top­ics on Jew­ish law. This vol­ume, its 15th, cov­ers such top­ics as cloning, bone mar­row dona­tion, and deter­min­ing the time of death. Each chap­ter offers an intro­duc­tion to the spe­cif­ic top­ic, then relies exten­sive­ly on Tal­mu­dic prece­dent and respon­sa to com­plete the discussion. 

Each chap­ter is well-writ­ten and heav­i­ly ref­er­enced. Due to its schol­ar­ly nature, the read­er will prob­a­bly not be able to fin­ish the book in one sit­ting. The for­mat of each chap­ter strikes a nice bal­ance between read­abil­i­ty and legalese. This vol­ume will find its great­est util­i­ty for read­ers who need spe­cif­ic answers to a spe­cif­ic halakhic bio­med­ical dilem­ma, and for that he or she will be great­ly reward­ed: There are excel­lent answers to mod­ern bio­med­ical ques­tions pro­vid­ed by cur­rent experts who are for­tu­nate to be able to stand on the shoul­ders of the great sages from past centuries.

Paul M. Arnold, MD, is pro­fes­sor of neu­ro­surgery and direc­tor of the Spinal Cord Injury Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas.

Discussion Questions