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Humanity (in Judaism)

Subject Religion » Judaism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxii ] The biblical account of man being created in the image of God ( Genesis 1: 27) was the basis of the Judaic understanding of human nature [10: iii ]. The medieval theologians were divided about whether or not humans’ status was above that of A ngels , but most agreed that humanity was the goal of creation. Kabbalists ( see K abbalah ) saw humankind as a microcosm who played a central role in maintaining the harmonious function of all levels of reality. Humanity's task was to act with God as a partner in the continuing work of creation, and to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth by following the good inclination ( yetzer tov ) within and overcoming the evil inclination ( yetzer-ha-ra ) [30: xvii ]. The prohibition on homicide is explained in terms of the ‘image of God’ within humanity, as are a number of other halakhic laws ( see H alakhah ). Human free will is a cornerstone of Jewish thought. [5; 14 vol. 11: 842; 27] ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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