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In the Beginning: A Jewish-Catholic Dialogue on Abortion

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As technological advances increase, the frameworks of our existence become further called into question. Contemporary bioethics still tirelessly grapple with issues regarding the end and beginning of life. However there is great need to extend beyond
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  BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY Thesis IN THE BEGINNING: A JEWISH-CATHOLIC DIALOGUE ON ABORTION   by LAUREN ANDREA-LUCIA HOBLER B.A., Brandeis University, 2013 Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Theology 2016  © Copyright by LAUREN ANDREA-LUCIA HOBLER 2016  Approved by First Reader _______________________________________________ Alejandro F. Botta, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible  iv This work is dedicated to my partner, Rinat, for bringing joy and music amidst the labour of research and writing that I have committed myself to. I am grateful for this and for the journey of my learning and life together as we soon return to Israel.  v IN THE BEGINNING: A JEWISH-CATHOLIC DIALOGUE ON ABORTION LAUREN ANDREA-LUCIA HOBLER ABSTRACT As technological advances increase, the frameworks of our existence become further called into question. Contemporary bioethics still tirelessly grapple with issues regarding the end and beginning of life. However there is great need to extend beyond the horizons of Western secular ethics and be able to create inter-religious dialogue surrounding these issues. The debates on abortion often become forcibly polarized in public discourse which severely hinders the development of an analytical and dialogical space which speaks not only to the content of opinions, but to the contexts of historical, theological, and philosophical traditions which have informed and shaped the way abortion is perceived and handled by both individuals and institutions. This paper seeks to deconstruct the abortion debate within both Orthodox Jewish and Catholic tradition in order to locate the fragile points of friction and tend to the hermeneutics of each tradition in order to understand the way in which ethics is formed and deformed within them. In doing so a new dimension to inter-religious dialogue and ethical relations between traditions is formed that extends deeply into questions of embodiment, human nature, ensoulment, and the horizons of life and death as necessary variables to interact with in ethical reasoning across religious traditions in a pluralistic society.
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