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Benjamin

Do you think that the adultery ordeal in Numbers 5:11-31 is designed to induce an abortion? Specifically, v. 27 describes the nature of the punishment for adultery: "her womb shall swell, and her thigh shall fall away." This clearly means infertility, but might it not also mean miscarriage of an illegitimate child?

This might not directly address human-induced abortion, but it may inform a discussion of the value of human life in some way.

Thoughts?

JohnFH

Hi Benjamin,

There is overlap here. In the relevant tractate of the Talmud, Sotah, trial by ordeal (by drinking the potion) was expected to trigger a miscarriage / abortion in a guilty party.

Trial by ordeal was (and remains, in some African societies) a widely attested approach to resolving judicial disputes. It needs to be understood from the inside, based on careful ethnographic study.

I got started on the topic here:

http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2010/04/trial-by-ordeal-in-the-bible-and-the-ane-tikva-frymerkensky-and-unpublished-manuscripts.html

Kurk Gayle's etic (as opposed to emic) approach to the text struck me as a giant step backwards:

http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2009/05/a-response-to-kurk-gayle.html

Unfortunately, I have not yet had a chance to take the subject up again.

John

We are studying Exodus on Wednesday nights and had chapter 21 a couple of weeks ago. Based only on the text, not on Jewish interpretation of it, could it be taken this way, in your opinion?

If the woman miscarries and the fetus lives, there would be a fine only. If the woman miscarries and the fetus dies, the offender would be executed. Stage of development would not directly come into play, just if the fetus lives or dies. "No other damage" would mean the fetus (now born) does not die. "Other damage" would mean the death of the fetus in addition to the fact of the miscarriage.

Your thoughts? Thanks.

John

JohnFH

Hi John,

The language of the passage, if read in isolation from Ancient Near Eastern parallels and in isolation from its native (Jewish) history of interpretation, is terse and gapped enough to allow the sense that you propose.

However, it is not recommended that a text, much less a biblical text, be read in isolation from precedent and coeval parallels, and from its own native (in this case Jewish) interpretation.

Finally, not to read Scripture in conjunction with traditional Jewish interpretation thereof seems obtuse, given that Jesus said, “The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it” (Matthew 23:2-3a); and the praise of scribes (Matthew 15:32) - in particular, those who possess treasures new and old. So I wouldn't forget the old.

ANE parallels: the Hittite laws vary the monetary compensation based on the gestational age of the fetus that dies.

In the Code of Hammurabi and the middle Assyrian laws, the legal consequences of causing a woman to miscarry if the woman dies are variations on the principle of lex talionis - appended to case law in the Exod passage. It is the pregnant woman's death that is in question when the principle of talionis is applied, not monetary compensation, which applied to a lost fetus.

Once again in the Laws of Hammurapi, if the pregnant woman who dies belonged to the upper class, her assailant’s daughter was put to death – an example of vicarious punishment.

The Middle Assyrian laws prescribe torture of the guilty side when the pregnant woman dies. Only the oldest laws, the Sumerian laws, make a distinction between accidental and intentional assault.

It should not be too difficult to see large overlaps but also, highly significant differences.

I hope that helps. Blessings on your Bible study.

James Pate

Hi John. Here's a post of mine that discusses this issue. Some of it overlaps with the information you provide, but there is also some other material.

http://jamesbradfordpate.blogspot.com/2009/03/judaism-abortion-and-joan.html

JohnFH

Thanks for the link, James. There is a lot of overlap, and what fun that MShaffer saw fit to comment.

Christianophobie

Very interesting, honestly I didn't know this point about abortion in judaism.

Theophrastus

Your summary of when abortion is permitted in contemporary Orthodox Judaism is incomplete.

In particular, there are two additional factors that can justify abortion:

(1) the mental health of the mother. It is a matter of controversy how severely the mental health of the mother must be impacted by the pregnancy/birth to justify abortion.

(2) birth defects in the baby. It is a matter of controversy how severe the birth defects in the fetus must be to justify abortion.

These rules are codified in Israeli law, for example (see sections 312-321 of the penal code)

Outside of Israel, since different poskim rule in different ways, an individual woman or family would consult with the halachic authorities in her particular community. However, in practice, without strong community halachic guidance, an individual Jew is able to rely on any reliable posek. This means that in practice, fairly liberal guidelines exist for abortion.

See http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/abortion

I'll leave it to you to decide whether you like or don't like these various rulings. But as a matter of simple fact, they form an integral part of Orthodox Jewish bioethics today.

JohnFH

Hi Theophrastus,

You are right that my presentation is incomplete. Perhaps I should deal with the issues you raise. A few preliminary thoughts.

I would think that the mental health consequences to the mother should she elect to abort also need to be considered.

As far as electing to have children with Downs syndrome, for example, it seems to me that the case is strong for being very guarded about permitting this. Have you seen "Praying with Lior"?

On the other hand, there is no doubt that some cases - if the fetus is known to be horribly deformed for example - pose special problems.

All of these issues are discussed not only by many posekim but also by individual Jews with hardly any consensus to be noted. The debate is difficult to summarize. There are after all pro-life Jews - it is likely that their numbers are growing as they are in the general population; on the other end of the spectrum, there are pro-choice Jews who would refuse to disapprove of any choice a mother might make, legal and, in some cases, extra-legal.

Thanks for the additional link. I'm familiar with the article, which represents an Orthodox feminist viewpoint.

This statement you make does not go far enough:

"without strong community halachic guidance, an individual Jew is able to rely on any reliable posek."

In fact, many Jews - like many Protestants and Catholics - don't rely on any religious authority at all, but simply follow their consciences. If their consciences are shaped by traditional values, that's one thing; if they are shaped by a pro-choice, libertarian outlook, that's another.

This statement you make is misleading:

"in practice, fairly liberal guidelines exist for abortion."

That is true only insofar as the individual Jew and the posek she relies on if any are "fairly liberal."

No less an authority than Britain's chief rabbi has a different take on the matter:

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/spengler/2009/05/21/science-ethics-and-abortion-the-perspective-of-britain%E2%80%99s-chief-rabbi/

Theophrastus

"Liberal" was an ill-chosen word in my not above. "Lenient" would have been a better choice.

Although R. Sacks is a beloved Rabbi (particularly important in presenting Judaism to the broader British and English-speaking non-Jewish community), I have not often heard him regarded as a halachic authority. Indeed, there is a great deal of discussion about his lack of power vis-a-vis the London Beis Din. Thus, within United Synagogue circles, his halachic opinion is considered less important than that of Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu (retired).

However, your point is valid -- if a woman considers herself bound by the rulings of London Beis Din, she would need to subject herself to London Beis Din standards (which despite R. Sacks' statements are considerably more lenient than Catholic standards -- e.g., the London Beis Din has long supported stem cell research).

In practice, there is a long tradition in Judaism when there are dissenting opinions of being able to rely on the more lenient opinions. This tradition dates at least back to the Talmud, and is the reason that almost all authorities posek like Beis Hillel rather than Beis Shammai.

Perhaps the best known case of relying on a lenient opinion relates the kashrus of milk -- based on a ruling by R. Moshe Feinstein, USDA certification (rather than Cholev Yisroel) is sufficient to obtain the Orthodox Union hechsher. It is rather amazing that this view became so extended and widespread within Modern Orthodoxy. Even R. Feinstein's original opinion is based on a very narrow case (an infant unable to nurse) -- and on the basis of this requirement, an entire rabbinic prohibition was relaxed. (Of course, many Orthodox communities hold to a stricter standard of Cholov Yisroel -- but those Orthodox Jews who do drink supermarket milk do not feel they have sinned or in any way stepped outside the boundaries of their religion.

In the case of abortion (as with much of the case of Jewish medical ethics -- certainly the hottest field in contemporary halacha) the issues are rather more contentious and unsettled than kashrus: but the same principle applies -- there are a variety of opinions that can be relied upon and at least within the Modern Orthodox community, this means that one can rely on a lenient position.

Of course, you are right that (outside Israel) an individual can simply make up her own mind, but that my point is that she can rely on a lenient opinion and still feel completely within the boundaries of orthopraxy (halachic Judaism). (In Israel, secular law in this instance has been aligned with the Rabbinate's opinion.)

This entire discussion is sometimes subsumed under the title of halachic flexibility.

I believe that at least within contemporary Catholicism, there are rather more rigid standards applied to infallible pronouncements from the Magisterium. While individual Catholic communities may have additional teachings that members are subject to, there is no principle (as I understand it) in Catholicism of appealing to a more lenient opinion and staying within orthopraxy.

scott gray

john--

you seem to place some sort of primacy for emic over etic justifications for behavior and actions. do i read you correctly on this?

scott

JohnFH

I try to, Scott, but I don't always succeed. Feel free to elaborate.

scott gray

John—

Lengthy; sorry. Edit as you see fit.

I’m not sure what your exact understandings of emic and etic are; I’ll assume we’re talking from the same definitions, and make corrections and apologies as we go.

I consider emic to be closest to ‘lived experience.’ And I think the primacy you, and I would argue most people, give to emic understandings over etic are at the root of the conflicts and controversies over abortion; lived experiences feel ‘truer,’ or more authentic, than math or number-generated arguments.

If your lived experience regarding abortion is about fetuses as babies, and you have or want kids, and have been through successful birth and raising infants, you’ll be against them in principle. If your lived experience regarding abortion is about quality of life and about who controls whom, and people’s rights to make individual choices, or about unsuccessful births and child raising, you’ll want them on the table.
I think theological and social principles derive from the emic more than the etic. Since all of the stories and prescriptive passages you cited are rooted in birthing and rearing, the principles are going to lean toward carrying to term. If scripture contained stories about women’s control issues, especially those regarding conception and child rearing, and stories about anencephalic births, different principles might be more prominent.

We can influence people’s principles so that they match ours best, I think, if we give them the kinds of experiences that confirm or imitate our own lived experiences that resulted in those principles. For instance, getting people to go to church to hear the stories that support the principles, so that the experience of church supports the principles desired.

Or, in the case of abortion, offering, or convincing or forcing women to see ultrasounds of fetuses so that the emic experience moves toward bearing a child.

I had a discussion this morning with a woman who had strong feelings, and articulated strong principles about abortion. I mentioned a purely etic argument: global population is doubling every 54 years or so. Abortion slows this a mite. This argument is true, and generates its own principles. But etic principles don’t carry much weight for people’s decision-making.

While etic arguments are rooted in truth, usually math or science, they don’t carry the strong feelings that emic arguments do.

scott

JohnFH

Thanks Scott.

I would have this to say, first of all. There really is no such thing as a purely etic argument. An argument presented by someone as etic is in reality an interpreted fact with a set of feelings and experiences, not just bare facts (an oxymoron), driving the interpretation.

For example, you think of population growth as a purely etic argument in tension or contradiction with the stigmatization of abortion. But there is plenty of recent research that shows that "the population bomb" is a false problem. According to this research, given a host of co-efficients in the realm of cultural and economic change, there is a self-correcting mechanism at work in longer term demographic trends. In fact, the trend is in the direction of sub-replacement fertility, with 42% of the world's population already in this category.

In light of this, how many children a couple has in not in need of regulation. Under current circumstances, least of all in the developed West and East, if a particular faith promotes large families, no harm is done in the sense of triggering a population explosion.

Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, most of Western Europe, Israel, Canada, Russia, and Australia, even China, already wish or will soon begin to wish that the biblical mandate "be fertile and increase" was written on the hearts of their citizens.

Now, I do not claim that my argument is a purely etic one. On the contrary, it is driven by facts but also by felt experiences, an affirmative reading of mandates in the book of Genesis, and most of all, on a particular understanding of the shape and ambition of love exchanged..

Why do we have children? From a Christian point of view, Thomas Dalrymple says it well:

http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Why-We-Have-Children-Timothy-Dalrymple-01-26-2011.html

shawshank redemption 5

Let me begin by first telling you my stance on abortion. I agree with Judaism’s permission for abortion when the case is danger to the life of the mother and I used to only be ok with abortion if the case of this, rape, or incest. Recently, my friend got pregnant and though she originally wanted to keep it, her parents and the father forced her to change her mind. At first, I was so mad at her, I hate the father of the child but I thought she and I could raise it. My mind was changed when she told me all the reasons why it was the best choice. Those reasons were that she’d have to drop out of school, her parents would disown her and though she has three jobs, she couldn’t support herself and a baby, and she’d have to move in with the father, and though they had dated in the past, she wasn’t with him. He has always been emotionally and mentally abusive to her and they even got in physical altercations at times, though she was always the one to start it. Their relationship was the definition of unhealthy and it was not the environment to raise a child. Once she told him of her situation, he said she’d be a horrible mother and then stopped returning her calls. At least his family was supportive through the whole ordeal. My friend and I will always be heartbroken over the baby she could’ve had, I know the pain of this will never leave her, especially after being screamed at and being hit with rocks the day she went to the clinic. Though I want so badly to have been able to do something, I honestly do believe it was for the best. This situation changed my views dramatically and I now realize it should be the mother’s choice and no one else’s. I personally would still never get an abortion unless the situation involved severe threat to my life, rape, or incest, but I understand now that in some situations, abortion is best for the mother and the child.
In some cultures, women are punished for miscarriages, as if it was their faults. I obviously believe this is wrong and Exodus 21:22-25 makes me happy to know people other than the mother could be punished for a miscarriage. I believe that even today, if people hurt a pregnant woman and she miscarries, there should be punishment. No, I don’t think it should be an eye for an eye, but they should be sued and forced to pay or do whatever the mother sees fit (within reason). The change in LXX Exodus 21:22-25 is not a good change because in my opinion, the punishment should be the same if the child is fully formed or not.

JohnFH

That is a dramatic story, SR 5. It is not that unusual either. But I'm wondering why bringing the baby to term and putting him/her up for adoption was not considered. I have seen this work before and I have also seen the joy of couples who cannot have children who adopt such a child.

Any thoughts?

Nell 1

I never knew this circumstance existed under Jewish tradition regarding abortion. I do not feel as though the mother’s life has more importance over the unborn human’s life. God cares for all of His children and wants them all to live. If having a child was to affect the mother’s health, or even a rape occurred, I don’t see abortion as being the only solution but it is one that will be brought to the table. There are also many other options out there to help mothers who have babies that they may not necessarily want. Life is not something to just take away from an unborn child, even if one feels that they are incapable of knowing what is going on in the world around them. God knows that is going on and wants to preserve all of His children. Women have many options other than abortion such as adoption. Sometimes having a baby may seem to be more of a burden in someone’s life but choosing to end that unborn child’s life should not always be the first choice. There are many people in the world who are incapable of having children. Instead of abortion being the first option, one should consider adoption. The baby will then be taken care of and the mother may feel more reassured knowing that her child is now in good care.

True Grit 1

Wow, this is surprisingly very unfamiliar to me. It’s always good when you can say you learned something new today! I am Catholic, and this is very opposite of what we are taught. We believe that a fetus is a life and should be saved and celebrated. While Judaism believes to save the mother in that situation, I find that technology these days is very advanced. I don’t see this event occurring as often as it once did, back when very little medical care was practiced. Nowadays I see doctors doing what they can to make sure the mom and baby are both in healthy condition. Medication and procedures these days are absolutely mind blowing. Going off of what Nell 1 posted, I agree completely. Abortion is not the only answer to not becoming a parent. Adoption is a great option, and many infertile families would be more than willing to welcome that new life into their home. Actually there is a such a waiting list for this. In conclusion, in an emergency situation, I believe Judaism has it right, but protect both the newborn and mother as best as possible.

Nell 4

I would have to agree with True Grit 1 and Nell 1, because I never was aware of the circumstance of the Jewish traditions regarding abortion either. I've been a Lutheran my entire life, but abortion is a tough topic to talk about when it comes to faith or what I believe is morally right. I do agree that abortion is not the only answer. Most people don't think of an alternative solution such as adoption. Sometimes that’s not always a good answer either, because it doesn’t guarantee any child a permanent home right away. Some of the children could fairly well end up in foster care, orphanages, or even shelter care. It’s hard to pick one’s future. When you actually dig deeper for those who were raped by family members or just in general makes you think is abortion the right solution? Some may say yes, some may say hell no, but no one can actually answer that question till their in that awful situation or had that experience. Our decisions in life change all the time. So in conclusion I would also have to agree with the belief of Judaism to protect the newborn and the mother as best as possible. Do what would be best for the child and the mother.

Truman 1

Truman 1,

I really think that the story that Shawshank Redemption 5 told was a great example of why someone would want to get an abortion. I think that their friend did the right thing and think about why it would be a good idea to have the child and also why it would be a bad idea to have the child. I think that they weighed the pros and cons and made the right decision for her and her future. I do however disagree that it should be the mother choice and their choice only. I do think that they are the most important person in the issue, but you can not take the father of the child out of the picture. I think that it is just as much his right to have this child. I know that many would disagree, but put yourself in that position and you didn’t have a choice. I think that you would feel differently. Again I think that each situation is unique and presents its own problems and needs to be handled differently.

Pulp Fiction 3

I also believe that abortion under different circumstances can be right and wrong. Since the life begins at conception, having an abortion is intentionally taking a life of another human. Another reason why I am against abortion is because there are many families out there that are waiting to adopt a child so having the child and putting he/she up for adoption is a viable alternative to an abortion. As for the case of people that have an abortion due to rape or incest, if you get the proper medical care right away you can ensure that the women will not be getting pregnant. And by having the abortion you are punishing a child who did no crime.

There are so many different circumstances that come up that can have an impact on people’s decisions on being for or against abortion. I believe the topic of abortion will continue to be debated for years to come and people will always be arguing about the matter.

True Grit 3

The topic of abortion is always a touchy subject, and I grew up in a Lutheran family, and abortion was never really talked about. I respect the fact that in the Jewish faith, they would try to save the mothers life, because you always here of doctors saying that they want to get the baby out as safely as possible. I don’t really have a point of view on abortion, I think that it should be the females choice and until you are in that situation, nobody should judge it. I know the Bible says thou shall not kill but in some circumstances, to save a mothers life it might have to be done.

Pulp Fiction 4

I have to agree with Truman 1, under certain circumstances abortion might just be the right choice for someone. But I think it needs to be a well thought out decision, because there is still a life intentionally being taken away, and never getting a chance to live. Another point I agree with that Truman 1 brought up was, that a decision like this should not just made by the mother. I also think that the father plays a huge role in making such a life changing decision, he is just as involved as the mother would be.

chariots of fire 3

I feel that getting an abortion just because the baby is “unwanted” or wasn’t planned is a pretty poor excuse to exterminate a potential human being. If a couple is old enough to participate is sexual activity then they should also be responsible enough to handle the consequences of a possible child. I completely and fully agree with the bible tradition that all life is sacred, and getting an abortion because a child is unexpected is very selfish in my opinion. Even though I am against abortion and support pro life, at the end of the day it is the potential mother’s decision on what she wants to do with her possible child.

True Grit 4

I do believe all abortions are wrong. I do not believe that under certain circumstances it should be permitted. This would open a Pandora’s Box I feel if we looked at abortion as we could allow under certain circumstances. I feel this way because I do feel that abortion is murder and to say we permit murdering a fetus under certain circumstances would cause us to question other punishments for murder. Whose to say that we would not start granting exceptions for people murdering other people.

The Truman Show 5

I believe that abortion is wrong, but in this case I believe that Judaism has it right in this case. While yes it is destroying a life, it is also saving one in the process. For if you save the mother, there will be more chances to bring the miracle of life into being. But that being said, all other pregnancies should have to run there course, otherwise the mother's are just committing murder on their unborn son/daughter. No other exceptions.

breaker morant 2

The issue of abortion is very controversial. This argument is on going and really, it's up to the person in the situation. Each religion can have their own "rules" for abortion and followers can pertain to these rules, but when it comes to personal belief, i choose that over religion. You must do what YOU want to do not what someone else wants you to. Although i feel everyone should be education on the subject, it's an ongoing controversy.

Pulp Fiction 4

I disagree with True Grit 4. I really like the Jewish law and the thorough explanation of it. The mother has put a lot more effort into living her life. She is a person that has friends and relatives who would be greatly affected if she were to die. While the death of the baby would be depressing, it wouldn’t be nearly as traumatic to the people who know the mother.

Also, it’s easier to justify the death of the baby because there’s so much that could have gone wrong with him or her. The child could die after a couple of years, and then neither the woman nor the child would be alive. Of course, the aborted baby could have also been the next great leader or philanthropist. But people find it comforting when they can’t be proven wrong. With the mother, everyone knows exactly who she is. The baby is easier to lose because we can just dismiss the idea that the world would have been better off with him or her, and there’s no way anyone could convince us otherwise.

True Grit 12

I agree with the Jewish stance on abortion. While I am a Christian and do believe that all life is to be respected, I do not see, in the rare circumstance that a mother's life is in danger, that it would be impermissible for the mother to have the baby aborted. My reasoning for this agreement is Exodus 21:22-25. This story insinuates that while all lives are to be respected, the loss of a fetus can be righted through a monetary payment while the loss of a post birth human requires an eye for an eye.

Another comment I have is less related to this specific article and more related to the topic of abortion in general. Why is it that we, as religious groups, individuals, or political parties, do not do more to promote adoption? It seems that it could be an option that not only allows the pregnant woman to continue life without that responsibility after the birth but also gives the opportunity for those who can not have children of their own to experience parenthood?

True Grit 2

Going off of True Grit 12’s comment, I believe people do not promote adoption more because many people cannot imagine their baby later on in life wondering why they were given up. I do concur with the article when it stated, “In the case of danger to the life of the mother, Judaism permits abortion.” I also think women should have a choice. This is my belief because what if the mother has other children. Should those children go motherless to save a baby that will also not have mother? Mothers are very important for child development and need to be there to help raise them. Women should have a choice in keeping or aborting their baby because if they are not financially sound, the child will be raised in a poor quality environment. Secondly, I believe if a woman is raped she should be able to have an abortion. If she kept the baby it may remind her of the horrific event and she might resent her child. Thirdly, a mother should be able to abort if the child has a life threatening disease or schizophrenia. I do not agree with parents picking and choosing their children, however, if the child will have a poor quality of life and will create a financial burden the mother should be allowed to abort. Schizophrenia, autism, and Down syndrome are the more common birth defects. I think a woman should have a choice only for schizophrenia due to first hand experience of what it does to a person. It is life long struggle against you and your mind. People do not realize that disabilities affect the whole family and some people cannot handle that. Life is precious yet; sometimes having an abortion will be better for the family and especially the baby. No child should have a bad quality of life.

breaker morant4

True Grit 4, I completely disagree with you. Abortion should be the choice of the people having the fetus. humans have been using abortion for along time and there has not been any crazy change in the morals of people. How could you tell a rape victim to go through nine moth of pregnancy and give birth to that child. How would you explain to that child who there father is? I like the way the Jewish look at abortion some things should not be looked at as just black and white.

The Mission 21

I always thought that abortion would be strictly forbidden throughout Jewish religion. Therefore it surprised me when I read that it was okay to allow an abortion as long as the mother's life was at risk. But couldn't it be said that if the mother's life was to become in danger, that was God's way of punishing her if the pregnancy came about through adultery. And I feel like it would be fairly easy to have the baby then give it up for adoption. It is my belief that even if the unborn child is still just a fetus it has the potential to become a great human being. And by ending the life we will never know what that child will become. It seems a bit of a stretch but what if that unborn fetus would go on to cure cancer and save millions of lives. Would you still make the same decision?

Chariots of Fire 4

The thing I can't seem to grasp about this is why would the mothers life be more sacred then the fetus. The mother has lived a life long enough to be able to have a child so why can't the fetus get to have a childhood and grow old enough to have a child of their own. I would understand if both the fetus and the mother had a probability of dying. Then you have the right to abort the fetus. Also, God has everything planned, maybe the mother has to die when the child is born in order for the child to learn a life lesson early on and grow up without a mother and become somebody great. I can't seem to understand when if ever we have the right to prevent, destroy, or alter someones life since God planned on having it happen the way it should.

Chariots of Fire 5

I think that its ridiculous to think that abortion is right under any circumstance. Yes, rape is a horrible thing but that doesn't give you an excuse to stop a child from coming into this world. By no means do you ever have to right to take another human being's life or even a "potential human being" for those who think there's a certain time table for pregnancy where the fetus isn't human yet. I strongly believe that abortion is murder and to be a Christian and not think so is outrageous.

Dead Man Walking 5

These passages surprised me a lot when I read them. I never thought that the Jewish religion would ever accept abortion, even if the mother’s life was at risk if she went through with the pregnancy. Although I believe abortion is wrong for reasons like unwanted or unplanned, there are situations that call for these actions. If both the mother and the child are going to die and an abortion could save the mother’s life, it should be allowed. Also if just the mother could die, then she should be allowed to make the choice of saving her own life or risking her life while giving birth to the child.

Breaker Morant 3

Abortion is obviously a very touch subject in our society, probably because the Bible doesn't actually directly say "abortion is right" or "abortion is wrong". I am a Christian and I believe that in most cases abortion is wrong. However, I do agree with the Jewish point of view in that it is permissible in cases where the mother's life is in danger. I believe in the case of life or death, the woman should have the choice to decide if she is willing to die in order to give her child life, or possibly choose to live and end the life of her unborn child. God, who is a just God, will judge her based on that decision. I don't think that as a society, we should be able to make that life or death decision for her. However, I do not advocate abortion in any other circumstance. I believe that God has placed life inside a woman, and it is His will that this child be born.

Praying with Lior 2

Abortion is a very controversial topic in the United States. Everyone has their own view on it and from my experience there are no persuading people from their views. Abortion when it saves the life of the mother should be not frowned upon. It sad but it has to be done in some cases because of medical reasons. A major issue surrounding abortion is at what time is a fetus considered to be a person. Some people say it’s at the point on conception and others say when a heart beat starts. My views are simple in my mind but others won’t agree with me. Abortion should be legal any time with the first trimester. Anytime after it should be illegal. People who argue the point that abortion should be illegal will bring the point up that a mother, who does not want or is unable to care for her child, should give the child up for adoption. This is a valid point but in order for this to work, the adoption process must be made simpler and money federal money must be used to support the increased number of children under the care of the state.

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a community of bloggers

  • Abnormal Interests
    Intrepid forays into realia and texts of the Ancient Near East, by Duane Smith
  • After Existentialism, Light
    A thoughtful theology blog by Kevin Davis, an M. Div. student at University of North Carolina-Charlotte
  • AKMA's Random Thoughts
    by A. K. M. Adam, Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Glasgow
  • alternate readings
    C. Stirling Bartholomew's place
  • Ancient Hebrew Grammar
    informed comment by Robert Holmstedt, Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, and John Cook, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore KY)
  • Antiquitopia
    one of the best blogs out there, by Jared Calaway, assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Illinois Wesleyan University.
  • Anumma - Hebrew Bible and Higher Education
    by G. Brooke Lester, Assistant Professor in Hebrew Bible, and Director for Emerging Pedagogies, at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Evanston IL)
  • Awilum
    Insightful commentary on the Bible and the Ancient Near East, by Charles Halton
  • AWOL - The Ancient World Online
    notice and comment on open access material relating to the ancient world, by Charles Jones of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
  • Balshanut
    top-notch Biblical Hebrew and Semitics blog by Peter Bekins, Ph. D. student, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati OH, faculty member, Wright State University (archive)
  • Believing is Knowing
    Comments on things like prophecy, predestination, and reward and punishment from an orthodox Jewish perspective, by David Guttmann
  • Ben Byerly's Blog
    thoughts on the Bible, Africa, Kenya, aid, and social justice, by Ben Byerly, a PhD candidate at Africa International University (AIU), in Nairobi, Kenya working on “The Hopes of Israel and the Ends of Acts” (Luke’s narrative defense of Paul to Diaspora Judeans in Acts 16-20)
  • Berit Olam
    by a thoughtful Matt Morgan, Berkeley CA resident, grad student in Old Testament at Regent University, Vancouver BC (archive)
  • Better Bibles Blog
    Discussion of translation problems and review of English Bible translations by Wayne Leman, Iver Larsen, Mike Sangrey, and others
  • Bibbia Blog
    A Bible blog in Italian and English by former students of the PIB and PUG
  • Bible Background research and commentary
    by Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Bible Design & Binding
    J. Mark Bertrand's place
  • BiblePlaces Blog
    a spotlight on the historical geography of the Holy Land, by Todd Bolen, formerly, Assistant Professor at the Israel Bible Extension campus of The Master's College, Santa Clarita CA
  • Biblicalia
    The riches of orthodoxy brought online by Kevin Edgecomb, a seminarian at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline MA)
  • Biblische Ausbildung
    by Stephen L. Cook, professor of Old Testament / Hebrew Bible at Virginia Theological Seminary
  • C. Orthodoxy
    Christian, Contemporary, Conscientious… or Just Confused, by Ken Brown, a very thoughtful blog (archive). Ken is currently a Dr. Theol. student at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, part of The Sofja-Kovalevskaja Research Group studying early Jewish Monotheism. His dissertation will focus on the presentation of God in Job.
  • Catholic Bibles
    a thoughtful blog about Bible translations by Timothy, who has a degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (Angelicum) and teaches theology in a Catholic high school in Michigan
  • Chrisendom
    irreverent blog with a focus on the New Testament, by Chris Tilling, New Testament Tutor for St Mellitus College and St Paul's Theological Centre, London
  • Claude Mariottini
    a perspective on the Old Testament and current events by a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Chicagoland, Illinois
  • Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot
    by Tyler Williams, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and cognate literature, now Assistant Professor of Theology at The King's University College in Edmonton, Alberta (archive)
  • Colours of Scripture
    reflections on theology, philosophy, and literature, by Benjamin Smith, afflicted with scriptural synaesthesia, and located in London, England
  • Complegalitarian
    A team blog that discusses right ways and wrong ways Scripture might help in the social construction of gender (old archive only; more recent archive, unfortunately, no longer publicly available)
  • Connected Christianity
    a place to explore what it might be like if Christians finally got the head, heart, and hands of their faith re-connected (archive)
  • Conversational Theology
    Smart and delightful comment by Ros Clarke, a Ph.D. student at the University of the Highlands and Islands, at the (virtual) Highland Theological College (archive)
  • Daily Hebrew
    For students of biblical Hebrew and the ancient Near East, by Chip Hardy, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago
  • Daniel O. McClellan
    a fine blog by the same, who is pursuing a master of arts degree in biblical studies at Trinity Western University just outside of Vancouver, BC.
  • Davar Akher
    Looking for alternative explanations: comments on things Jewish and beyond, by Simon Holloway, a PhD student in Classical Hebrew and Biblical Studies at The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Deinde
    News and Discussion by Danny Zacharias
  • Discipulus scripturae
    Nathan Stitt's place
  • Dr. Claude Mariottini
    balanced comment by a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Seminary, Lombard IL
  • Dr. Platypus
    insightful comment by Darrell Pursiful, editor at Smyth & Helwys Publishing, on the New Testament faculty of Mercer University
  • Dust
    A diary of Bob MacDonald's journey through the Psalms and other holy places in the Hebrew Bible
  • Eclexia
    The heart and mind of this Bible and theology blogger sing in unison
  • Eat, Drink, and be Merry
    The journey of a grad student with a love for ancient languages at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (archive)
  • Elizaphanian
    Rev Sam tussles with God, and limps away
  • Emerging from Babel
    Stephen investigates the potential of narrative and rhetorical criticism as a tool for expounding scripture
  • Evangelical Textual Criticism
    A group blog on NT and OT text-critical matters
  • Evedyahu
    excellent comment by Cristian Rata, Lecturer in Old Testament of Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology, Seoul, Korea
  • Exegetica Digita
    discussion of Logos high-end syntax and discourse tools – running searches, providing the downloads (search files) and talking about what can be done and why it might matter for exegesis, by Mike Heiser
  • Exegetisk Teologi
    careful exegetical comment by Stefan Green (in Swedish)
  • Exploring Our Matrix
    Insightful reflections by James McGrath, ass't. professor of religion, Butler University
  • Faith Matters
    Mark Alter's place
  • Ferrell's Travel Blog
    comments of biblical studies, archaeology, history, and photography by a tour guide of Bible lands and professor emeritus of the Biblical Studies department at Florida College, Temple Terrace (FL)
  • Fors Clavigera
    James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College, thinks out loud.
  • Friar's Fires
    an insightful blog by a pastor with a background in journalism, one of three he pens
  • Gentle Wisdom
    A fearless take on issues roiling Christendom today, by Peter Kirk, a Bible translator
  • Giluy Milta B‘alma
    by Ezra Chwat and Avraham David of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jewish National and Hebrew University Library, Jerusalem
  • He is Sufficient
    insightful comment on Bible translations, eschatology, and more, by Elshaddai Edwards
  • Higgaion
    by Chris Heard, Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University
  • Idle Musings of a Bookseller
    by James Spinti of Eisenbrauns
  • if i were a bell, i'd ring
    Tim Ricchiuiti’s place
  • Imaginary Grace
    Smooth, witty commentary by Angela Erisman (archive). Angela Erisman is a member of the theology faculty at Xavier University
  • James' Thoughts and Musings
    by James Pate, a doctoral student at HUC-JIR Cincinnati
  • Jewish Philosophy Place
    by Zachary (Zak) Braiterman, who teaches modern Jewish thought and philosophy in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University
  • kata ta biblia
    by Patrick George McCollough, M. Div. student, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA
  • Ketuvim
    Learned reflection from the keyboard of Jim Getz
  • Kilbabo
    Ben Johnson’s insightful blog
  • Kruse Kronicle - contemplating the intersection of work, the global economy, and Christian mission
    top quality content brought to readers by Michael W. Kruse
  • Larry Hurtado's blog
    emeritus professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, University of Edinburgh
  • Law, Prophets, and Writings
    thoughtful blogging by William R. (Rusty) Osborne, Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies as College of the Ozarks and managing editor for Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament
  • Lingamish
    delightful fare by David Ker, Bible translator, who also lingalilngas.
  • Looney Fundamentalist
    a scientist who loves off-putting labels
  • Menachem Mendel
    A feisty blog on rabbinic literature and other Judaica by Michael Pitkowsky, Rabbinics Curriculum Coordinator at the Academy for Jewish Religion and adjunct instructor at Jewish Theological Seminary (New York)
  • mu-pàd-da
    scholarly blog by C. Jay Crisostomo, grad student in ANE studies at ?
  • Narrative and Ontology
    Astoundingly thoughtful comment from Phil Sumpter, a Ph.D. student in Bible, resident in Bonn, Germany
  • New Epistles
    by Kevin Sam, M. Div. student at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon SK
  • NT Weblog
    Mark Goodacre's blog, professor of New Testament, Duke University
  • Observatório Bíblico
    wide-ranging blog by Airton José da Silva, Professor de Bíblia Hebraica/Antigo Testamento na Faculdade de Teologia do CEARP de Ribeirão Preto, Brasile (in Portuguese)
  • Observatório Bíblico
    Blog sobre estudos acadêmicos da Bíblia, para Airton José da Silva, Professor de Bíblia Hebraica / Antigo Testamento na Faculdade de Teologia do CEARP de Ribeirão Preto, SP.
  • Occasional Publications
    excellent blogging by Daniel Driver, Brevard Childs' scholar extraordinaire
  • old testament passion
    Great stuff from Anthony Loke, a Methodist pastor and Old Testament lecturer in the Seminari Theoloji, Malaysia
  • Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog
    A weblog created for a course on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, by James Davila (archive)
  • On the Main Line
    Mississippi Fred MacDowell's musings on Hebraica and Judaica. With a name like that you can't go wrong.
  • p.ost an evangelical theology for the age to come
    seeking to retell the biblical story in the difficult transition from the centre to the margins following the collapse of Western Christendom, by Andrew Perriman, independent New Testament scholar, currently located in Dubai
  • PaleoJudaica
    by James Davila, professor of Early Jewish Studies at the University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland. Judaism and the Bible in the news; tidbits about ancient Judaism and its context
  • Pastoral Epistles
    by Rick Brannan and friends, a conceptually unique Bible blog
  • Pen and Parchment
    Michael Patton and company don't just think outside the box. They are tearing down its walls.
  • Pisteuomen
    by Michael Halcomb, pastor-scholar from the Bluegrass State
  • Pseudo-Polymath
    by Mark Olson, an Orthodox view on things
  • Purging my soul . . . one blog at a time
    great theoblog by Sam Nunnally
  • Qumranica
    weblog for a course on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, taught by James R. Davila (archive)
  • Ralph the Sacred River
    by Edward Cook, a superb Aramaist
  • Random Bloggings
    by Calvin Park, M. Div. student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton MA
  • Resident aliens
    reflections of one not at home in this world
  • Revelation is Real
    Strong-minded comment from Tony Siew, lecturer at Trinity Theological College, Singapore
  • Ricoblog
    by Rick Brannan, it's the baby pictures I like the most
  • Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
    Nick Norelli's fabulous blog on Bible and theology
  • SansBlogue
    by Tim Bulkeley, lecturer in Old Testament, Carey Baptist College (New Zealand). His Hypertext Commentary on Amos is an interesting experiment
  • Ancient Near Eastern Languages
    texts and files to help people learn some ancient languages in self study, by Mike Heiser
  • Midrash, etc.
    A fine Hebrew-to-English blog on Midrash, by Carl Kinbar, Director of the New School for Jewish Studies and a facultm member at MJTI School of Jewish Studies.
  • Phil Lembo what I'm thinking
    a recovering lawyer, now in IT, with a passion for a faith worth living
  • Roses and Razorwire
    a top-notch Levantine archaeology blog, by Owen Chesnut, a doctoral student at Andrews University (MI)
  • Scripture & Theology
    a communal weblog dedicated to the intersection of biblical interpretation and the articulation of church doctrine, by Daniel Driver, Phil Sumpter, and others
  • Scripture Zealot
    by Jeff Contrast
  • Serving the Word
    incisive comment on the Hebrew Bible and related ancient matters, with special attention to problems of philology and linguistic anthropology, by Seth L. Sanders, Assistant Professor in the Religion Department of Trinity College, Hartford, CT
  • Singing in the Reign
    NT blog by Michael Barber (JP University) and Brad Pitre (Our Lady Holy Cross)
  • Stay Curious
    excellent comment on Hebrew Bible and Hebrew language topics, by Karyn Traphagen, graduate, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia PA (archive)
  • Sufficiency
    A personal take on the faith delivered to the saints, by Bob MacDonald, whose parallel blog on the Psalms in Hebrew is a colorful and innovative experiment
  • The Sundry Times
    Gary Zimmerli's place, with comment on Bible translations and church renewal
  • Sunestauromai: living the crucified life
    by a scholar-pastor based in the Grand Canyon National Park
  • ta biblia
    blog dedicated to the New Testament and the history of Christian origins, by Giovanni Bazzana
  • Targuman
    by Christian Brady, targum specialist extraordinaire, and dean of Schreyer Honors College, Penn State University
  • Targuman
    on biblical and rabbinic literature, Christian theology, gadgetry, photography, and the odd comic, by Christian Brady, associate professor of ancient Hebrew and Jewish literature and dean of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State
  • The Biblia Hebraica Blog
    a blog about Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the history of the Ancient Near East and the classical world, Syro-Palestinian archaeology, early Judaism, early Christianity, New Testament interpretation, English Bible translations, biblical theology, religion and culture, philosophy, science fiction, and anything else relevant to the study of the Bible, by Douglas Magnum, PhD candidate, University of the Free State, South Africa
  • The Forbidden Gospels Blog
    by April DeConick, Professor of Biblical Studies, Rice University
  • The Naked Bible
    by Mike Heiser, academic editor at Logos Bible Software
  • The Reformed Reader
    by Andrew Compton, Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (focus on Hebrew and Semitic Languages) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • The Sacred Page
    a blog written by three Catholic Ph.D.s who are professors of Scripture and Theology: Michael Barber, Brant Pitre and John Bergsma
  • The Talmud Blog
    a group blog on Talmud News, Reviews, Culture, Currents, and Criticism
  • Theological German
    a site for reading and discussing theological German, by Mark Alter
  • theoutwardquest
    seeking spirituality as an outward, not an inward quest, by David Corder
  • This Lamp
    Incisive comment on Bible translations in the archives, by Rick Mansfield
  • Thoughts on Antiquity
    By Chris Weimer and friends, posts of interest on ancient Greek and Roman topics (archive). Chris is a graduate student at the City University of New York in Classics
  • Threads from Henry's Web
    Wide-ranging comment by Henry Neufeld, educator, publisher, and author
  • Tête-à-Tête-Tête
    smart commentary by "smijer," a Unitarian-Universalist
  • Undeception
    A great blog by Mike Douglas, a graduate student in biblical studies
  • What I Learned From Aristotle
    the Judaica posts are informative (archive)
  • Bouncing into Graceland
    a delightful blog on biblical and theological themes, by Esteban Vázquez (archive)
  • Weblog
    by Justin Anthony Knapp, a fearless Wikipedian (archive)
  • Writing in the Dust
    A collection of quotes by Wesley Hill, a doctoral student in New Testament studies at Durham University (UK), and a Christian who seeks the charism of chastity
  • גֵּר־וְתוֹשָׁב
    by David Miller, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism, Briercrest College & Seminary, Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • ואל-תמכר
    Buy truth and do not sell: wisdom, instruction, and understanding - a blog by Mitchell Powell, student of life at the intersection of Christ, Christianity, and Christendom
  • משלי אדם
    exploring wisdom literature, religion, and other academic pursuits, by Adam Couturier, M.A. in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

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  • Ancient Hebrew Poetry is a weblog of John F. Hobbins. Opinions expressed herein do not reflect those of his professional affiliations. Unless otherwise indicated, the contents of Ancient Hebrew Poetry, including all text, images, and other media, are original and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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    Copyright © 2005 by John F Hobbins.