March 15, 2000
re: The Application of the Noachide Code to Contemporary Social Problems
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15
The Tree of Life Society of Cardozo Law School and the Leonard and Bea Diener Institute of Jewish Law present a symposium on...
The Noachide Code (also known as the "Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach," or the Seven Laws of Noah) is a set of basic social, moral, and legal principles, described in the Babylonian Talmud as binding on all human societies. In effect, it is a universal code of law prescribed by the Torah of Israel for humanity. Since the Code is the most explicit statement in Jewish jurisprudence regarding the normative condition of non-Jewish society, it represents an essential framework for discussion of the Jewish perspective on the appropriate elements of non-Jewish legal systems.
Rabbi Aharon Soloveitchik
Rabbi J. D. Bleich
Rabbi Yoel Schwartz
Aaron Lichtenstein, Ph.D.
Professor Nachum Rakover
Rabbi Israel Chait
Rabbi Michael Katz
Despite the obvious significance of the Noachide Code, both as an academic inquiry for students of Jewish civilization and as a source of universal moral values, the Code remains an obscure topic.
In previous generations, the precarious or outright hostile conditions in which world Jewry survived precluded any public discussion of the Code. In our generation, however, discussion of the Code both in print and on the internet has increased noticeably. The last two decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of both rabbinical and academic writings as well as the new phenomenon of books and web pages written for a lay or popular readership.
This latter category is particularly noteworthy because it corresponds to an unprecedented historical development: the emergence of a population of gentiles seeking to conduct their lives according to the Noachide Code. In the context of an ever-increasing number of such individuals, the absence of practical directives for the Noachides becomes a serious issue.
In 1991, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, of Yeshiva University, hosted a symposium on religious law and legal pluralism. This event included presentations by some of the world's foremost experts on the Noachide Code, later published in Volume 12 of the Cardozo Law Review.
Now, the Chevras Etz Chaim/Tree of Life Society and the Leonard and Bea Diener Institute of Jewish Law present a symposium designed to promote further scholarly investigation of the Noachide Code. This forum will focus exclusively on the Code and will feature many of the foremost scholars and experts from around the world..
BENJAMIN N. CARDOZO SCHOOL OF LAW · YESHIVA UNIVERSITY