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The Death of Moses (detail) by Alexandre Cabanel [1851] (Public Domain Image)

The Duties of the Heart

by Rabbi Bachye, tr. by Edwin Collins


Contents    Start Reading    Page Index    Text [Zipped]

This slim volume translates from the Rabbi Bachye, who wrote one of the first systematic treatments of philosophical Ethics in 12th century Spain. This was during a period of Jewish intellectual cross-fertilization with Islamic culture. Although Bachye was an orthodox Rabbi, he treats Ethics (the Duties of the Heart, in his words) as a universal science, derived from first principles such as the belief in God. This short book also runs very deep.

According to the introduction to this book, this was the first text to be published in the Wisdom of the East series. So if you collect these you might want to be on the watch for copies of this specific volume. The particular edition we ended up using is a second printing, but there is no reason to suggest that it had any differences with the first edition.

Title Page
Editorial Note
Wisdom, the Highest Good
Seek no Reward but Wisdom's Self
The Gates of Knowledge
The Ethics of the Body and the Ethics of the Soul
Examples of Duties of the Heart
The Duties of the Heart are more Important than any others
The Dual Duty of the Dual Man
All Conduct is Conditioned by the Heart
The Duties of the Heart are for every Time and Place
Endless Virtues Spring from those of the Heart
The Duty of Using Reason: and of Taking No Dogma On Trust
Faith without Knowledge
Belief in the Existence of One Creator as the Basis of Ethics
The Only True Unity
The Examination of Creation Shows the Goodness of the Creator
Free Will and Providence
Gratitude to God and Man
Gratitude is due for Good Intentions
The Motives of Human Benevolence
Man's Obligation of Gratitude to God
The Motive Forces that Impel Man to Grateful Service
The Whole of Human Conduct Belongs to the Domain of Ethics
The Danger of Pride and Self-Righteousness
The Danger of Pride
Humility, True and False
The Signs and Consequences of True Humility
Humility and Egotism
Aids to the Cultivation of Humility
The Charity of the Meek
Consistent Humility and Sincerity
Where Humility is Sin
The Hall Marks of the Meek
The Pride Consistent with Humility
Humility as a Worldly Advantage—Contentment
The Proper Study of Mankind is Man
Of Trust in God
Keeping Account with the Soul
Contemplation Leading to Communion with God
The Gate of Love
The Right Study of Nature Leads to Nature's God
What is Repentance?
The Motives to Repentance
On the Possibility of Repentance
Habits of those that love God