SL504 – Toward a Messianic Jewish Communal Ethic

Instructor: Paul L. Saal

Location: Orbund (

Date: March 10-May 19, 2019 Pesach Break April 20-27

Note: This is an expanded course description and not the syllabus. Students who want to begin reading before the syllabus is posted (usually one month prior to the start of class) should contact the course instructor directly to confirm what required readings will be on the syllabus. For the instructor’s contact information, email the MJTI registrar at

Messianic Judaism has yet to develop and clearly articulate its own coherent ethical schema. This course will portray ethics as a conceptual framework that integrates and communicates the moral assumptions of a particular community, rooted in historical understandings and tradition, and consistent with the ongoing life of that community in all of its complexities. The future development of Messianic Judaism’s communal ethic will be considered in relation of its unique connections to two religious communities with disparate experiences and often competing identities. Students will be challenged to explore “hot button issues” such as social justice, sexual morality, and responses to political authority and reconsider their assumptions regarding these issues in light of revelation and communal identity.

This is a core course required for all students in the Rabbinic Studies and Jewish Studies programs.

To live and act as a Jew who follows Yeshua, one must develop an understanding of what it means to do so. For a religious community, an ethical system integrates theology, history and tradition to form a communal identity and conscience. This course will help students to develop spiritual and moral practices that will concretize their Messianic Jewish identity.


This is an online course. The student must have a computer and internet access.

Lecture via webcast and podcast, asynchronous online discussion, and reaction papers

Listen to all podcasts and attend all interactive lectures via Zoom, timely completion all
reading assignments, full participation in all blog discussions, timely completion of homework and of final examination.

The publication dates indicate the required edition of each text.

  • Jacobs, Jill. There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice Through Jewish Law & Tradition. Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights, 2009. [257 pages]
  • MacIntyre, Alasdair C. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984. [286 pages]
  • Rashkover, Randi and Kavka, Martin eds. Tradition in the Public Square: A David Novak Reader. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2008. [365]
  • Resnik, Russell. Divine Reversal: The Transforming Ethics of Jesus. Clarksville, MD: Lederer Books, 2010. [193 pages]
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