November 10, 2010

Cloning and Talmudic Law

Barbara P. Billauer, Foundation for Law and Science Centers, Inc.; Institute of World Politics, has published Human Reproductive Cloning: The Intersection of Kaballa, the Bible and Biology - Parable, Exegesis and Modern Science

Under traditional Jewish Law (halacha), assessment of human reproductive cloning (HRC) has been formulated along four lines of inquiry, which I discussed in Part I of this paper. There, I analyzed five relevant doctrines of Talmudic Law, concluding that HRC fails to fulfill the obligation ‘to be fruitful and multiply’ and should be strictly prohibited. In part II, I reviewed the topic from an exigetical Biblical and Kabbalistic perspective, beginning with exploring comments of the Ramban (Nachmanides) which suggest Kabbalistic insights very much in keeping with current biology. I expand on the interrelationship of the reproductive faculties of an organism and its soul by examining the development of the spiritual states of plant, animal and human and noting the commensurate evolution with its reproductive facilities. Speculating that the reproductive mechanism of each species is indelibly related to its soul-state, I suggest that interfering with human sexual reproduction by HRC has the same effect the Ramban argues is the result of Kilayim (interbreeding), i.e., wrecking havoc with the Universe.

In this Part III, I postulate a biologic explanation for warnings found in the Golemic Literature and suggest that these allude to the importance of maintaining human genetic diversity through sexual reproduction. The conclusions I reached after evaluating the propriety of HRC under a Kabbalistic/metaphysical index comports with those I reached using a traditional legal /halachic inquiry in Part I. Thus, both systems arrive at the conclusion that HRC is in violation of the divine and natural order and constitute a distinct biological threat to the survival of the human species, a conclusions in accord with current scientific thinking.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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