National Contours for Moral Education: Palestine

Moral Contours





Human Rights

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Historical figures

c110 BCE - c 10CE
Iran Palestine

A leading source of Jewish wisdom and judgement, providing careful interpretations and applications of the Torah. He taught alongside Shammai, a more rigorously inclined and also highly respected scholar. Hillel was elected President of the Sanhedrin. A most frequently told story about him related to his response to an honest enquirer seeking an instant response to ‘what is the Torah?’ He said “What is hateful to you, do not do to others. That is the whole of Torah; the rest is commentary on it. Now go and study.” Such was Hillel’s reputation that his descendents continued to have the position as official leader of the Jewish community for the next 400 years and in 1923 when an organisation for university Jewish students was founded it was named after him.


c 7/6 BCE - c30 CE


Jesus of Nazareth is the name of the person who for Christians becomes the Christ of faith and central inspiration of the Christian churches over almost 2000 years and throughout the world – calendrically, the hinge of history. That he existed, few scholars would now doubt; however, what can be known of him biographically, except through the writings and experience of those enthused and captivated by him, is very limited. That he lived and died a faithful Jew, cannot be contested; but there were different ways of being Jewish. The covenant obligations between God and all living creatures, as with the people of Israel, were mutual and morally demanding. As with prophet predecessors, he was urgent in his criticisms of the status quo: he exposed hypocrisy, relativized the family, championed the poor and cared for the sick. Here were the ingredients for beating death. Various titles were attributed to him, rather than self ascribed; arguably each of these had its limitations, and many of them have by now ceased to resonate. If a new title were to be sought, it may be worth using that of ‘fully evolved human’ or more colloquially 'the Main Man'. This corresponds with the theological claims that are made of him; at the same time it asks questions as to what constitutes true humanity.



LURIA,. Isaac
1534 - 1572
Egypt Palestine


Founder of the major Kabbalist mystical tradition of Judaism, he presented the choice of the Jewish people as God’s solution to the problem of evil in the world. By keeping the law they will hasten its final defeat and the coming of Messianic fulfilment.



1897 - 1957


Great-grandson of Baha’ullah and leader of Baha’is 1921-57. He initiated the creation of an international structure which brought together local Baha’i communities already established in middle east countries with newer Baha’i groups elsewhere in the world. This included a pattern of locally and nationally elected assemblies. He translated the writings of Baha’ullah and used the format of letters addressed to the whole Baha’i world to enhance a shared sense of identity and loyalty. The pursuit of ‘Most Great Justice’ was for him a fundamental Baha’I mission.

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