Jewish ethics emerged as an autonomous field of inquiry in the second half of the twentieth century. But it is worthwhile inquiring as to what it emerged from. This essay examines a very limited data set—the first twenty issues of the journal Judaism, dating from the beginning of 1952 to the end of 1956—in order to offer a preliminary answer to this question. The answer suggested by the data set is that “Jewish ethics” was one of many sites in the mid-twentieth century for the negotiation, within Jewish intellectual life, of Jews' relationship with the Christianized West. The lead article in the first issue of Judaism suggested that the Jewish tradition held ethical values in opposition to those of Christianity; by the end of 1956, both Jewish and Christian ethics had become bedfellows under the rubric of “religious ethics.”

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