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November 20, 1996

Duty and Healing: Foundations of a Jewish Bioethic.

Author Affiliations

Center for Bioethics and Deparatment of Sociology University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia


by Benjamin Freedman, Division of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, 3690 Peel St, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1W9, Canada, 1996. The book is available only on the World Wide Web at http://www.mcgill.ca/CTRG/bfreed/.

JAMA. 1996;276(19):1604-1605. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540190077038

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Bioethicists often draw upon the common philosophical and legal traditions that form the foundation of Western moral reasoning to formulate their arguments, However, bioethicists who also draw from a particular regligious tradition bring to their arguments texts, authorities, or discourses that may not be deemed authoritative by their audience. Add to that the tradition of the separation of church and state, and religiously based bioethicists face a communicative dilemma: moral stances arrived at through parochial religious interpretive processes must be defended in public using generally accepted secular concepts and justifications. Much can get lost in the translation.

In Benjamin Freedman's superb book, Duty and Healing: Foundations of a Jewish Bioethic, Freedman seamlessly integrates the Jewish textual underpinnings of his moral position with his duties as a clinical bioethicist in a Montreal, Quebec, hospital.