Monday, October 11, 2010

Fetal personhood in the rabbinic tradition

I was doing a search on Amazon when I came upon a book entitled Conceiving Israel: The Fetus in Rabbinic Narratives by Gwynn Kessler.

The book is about the symbolism of the fetus in the rabbinic tradition.

I read the intro (which is accessible to through the above link) and I wanted to draw your attention about one rabbinic tradition regarding fetuses and the Exodus, as well as the reception of the Torah.

Now, this is one scholar's interpretation of that rabbinic tradition. I know that any non-Jew citing this quote is risky because there is no real orthodoxy in Judaism to judge if it's true, and I just know that this leaves me open to criticism that I don't know what I'm talking about, and that THAT passage doesn't really say what I think it means,etc etc.

Of course, in Judaism, with two rabbis, you get three opinions. And if a scholar immersed in rabbinic tradition pulls this up, it must be important.

I used a screen capture to get the quote:

Just as a note: in Orthodox Judaism, abortion is not permissible unless the mother's life is at stake. But Jews tend not to be strong supporters of legal personhood for the unborn.