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Image of the Non-Jew in JudaismA Historical and Constructive Study of the Noahide Laws$
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David Novak

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764074

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764074.001.0001

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Albo’s Theory of Noahide Law

Albo’s Theory of Noahide Law

(p.176) Chapter Eleven Albo’s Theory of Noahide Law
Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism

David Novak

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores Joseph Albo's theory of Noahide law. The great fifteenth-century theologian Joseph Albo considered Noahide law to be a category of divine law. He divided law per se into three classes: natural, conventional, and divine, in an ascending hierarchy. Natural law is concerned with right and wrong in the human situation; conventional law is related to what is desirable; and divine law is occupied with true good and true evil. The superiority of divine law consists in its specificity, and it is greater than either of the other two groups because it is absolute like natural law and transcendent like conventional law. Despite the superiority of divine law, the chapter argues that Albo's philosophical and theological thinking demonstrates a strong interrelationship among the three laws.

Keywords:   Joseph Albo, Noahide law, natural law, conventional law, divine law, true good, true evil

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