Use of stories in the Jewish Talmud to emphasize substance over form

Authored by: Dov Fischer , Hershey H. Friedman

The Routledge Handbook of Accounting Ethics

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138591967
eBook ISBN: 9780429490224
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429490224-12

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Abstract

The question as to whether accounting ethics should be rule-driven or value-driven has generated some controversy. We hold the view that ethics should be value-driven. The rabbis of the Talmud similarly recognized the danger of making religious ethics rule-based, and therefore came up with several legal devices to improve the law and make it more ethical. We describe “fixes” (takanot) implemented by the rabbis of the Talmud to make the rules of the Torah conform to its spirit of pleasantness and peace. The use of inspirational stories (aggadah) is a key device used by the Talmud to raise the ethical perspective of its audience.

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