This course will engage in a close consideration and reading of Pirkei Avot, one of the formative texts of Rabbinic Judaism and a central source for Jewish ethics over the last 2,000 years. In so doing, we will examine it in light of modern ethical and legal contexts, most notably contemporary "virtue ethics" as well as current theories of legal interpretation. In order to successfully complete the course, students will write either write their own commentary on the material, examine it light of modern legal ethics and notions of professional responsibility, compare and contrast it with their own philosophical and/or religious traditions, or complete some other form of extended essay of approximately 20-25 pages. Students of all religious backgrounds -- or of no religious background -- are invited and welcome.
Successful completion of the course will fulfill the law school's professional responsibility requirement.