The Gold­en Rule: The Ethics of Reci­procity in World Religions

Con­tin­u­um Books
  • Review
By – September 13, 2011

The gold­en rule” is preva­lent in every sig­nif­i­cant monothe­is­tic reli­gion and deeply influ­ences many oth­er traditions. 

In Judaism, the rule is exem­pli­fied in the bib­li­cal oblig­a­tion to love your neigh­bor,” which was adopt­ed by Rab­bi Hil­lel to mean that which is hate­ful unto you do not unto oth­ers. Jesus inter­pret­ed the rule to mean do unto oth­ers” and brought it to great fame and promi­nence. The book traces the twists and turns of the jour­ney tak­en by the gold­en rule and spot­lights its appear­ance in Greek Altru­ism, Zoroas­tri­an­ism, Islam, Bud­dhism, Hin­duism, and Confucianism. 

After read­ing this col­lec­tion, there can be lit­tle doubt that this pow­er­ful rule has had an enor­mous influ­ence in shap­ing reli­gious beliefs through­out the cen­turies and around the world. This study lends cre­dence to the prin­ci­ple that reli­gions have at their core cer­tain over­ar­ch­ing con­cepts that empha­size basic eth­i­cal teach­ings and that instruct believ­ers to act moral­ly and honorably.

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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