Az abortusz az ókori zsidó-, római- és a korai keresztény forrásokban. 1. rész

  • József Szécsi Országos Rabbiképző-Zsidó Egyetem
Kulcsszavak: zsidó, római, keresztény források, abortusz, jog, 1-2. rész


In the Hebrew Holy Scriptures the Jewish understanding of foetal life seems to be consolidated. This solid interpretation starts falling to pieces since the Hellenistic period of the 3rd century BC and the comments protect only the foetus looking like already human inside of the womb. According to the points of views of Josephus Flavius and the Mishna, the foetus is transformed human by the onset of labour and through the delivery, which consideration persisted through the ages. The Talmud defines the foetus as an integrated part of the mother’s body nevertheless separates the periods before and after the 40th day of the foetal life. Thus the Jewish philosophy considered the foetus as an integrated human being down to the 3rd century BC, however as a part of the mother’s body until the delivery. Artificial abortion must have been absolutely alien to the Jewish women and families through

the Old Ages. It explains clearly why it was not treated by the legislation. Since ever it was an eternal dream of all Jewish maidens to become the mother of the Messiah. The basic understanding was the healthy acceptance of descendants that were shaped like God himself even if the neonates were imperfect. Religious standards of the Jewish people were as developed as those of the neighbouring nations e.g. those of Assyrians who practiced death penalty for criminal abortion.

The Roman penalty law avoided the topic of abortion until the 2nd century of the Christianity. Prior to that time these issues belonged to the paterfamilias who considered the mos maiorum rather as a golden standard than the community legislation. It is unclear how the community law penetrated this area under the pressure of the Christianity. Several Christian authors consider this penetration as a growing impact. However it may also be assumed that the legislation tried only to restore the balance disturbed by debilitation of the power of paterfamilias and traditional family at all. Nevertheless there is no or at least not enough evidence for considering artificial abortion as a homicide since the beginning of the penalisation. It was only a later development at least in the civil legislation. 

In the first three centuries AD, Christian authors concerning artificial abortion down to Eusebius of Caesarea condemned unison this practice. Many of them qualified artificial abortion as infanticide and in the context of parents-children relationship as parricidium thus committed by parents in the family. Albeit this pondering surpasses the limits set about artificial abortions in the Hebrew Bible, there is no lack of continuity related to the pre-Christian Jewish morality. Apodictic and unmistakable sentences like in Josephus Flavius’ Contra Apionem or Didaché’s Duae Vitae highlight rather the clear continuity. This is a firm base of historic explanations of continued considerations. The New Testament does not treat the artificial abortion in a direct way thus later condemnation cannot be traced back to Christian origins. Some impacts of the Septuaginta may be found in works of authors like Tertullianus and Lactantius, nevertheless Lactantius was influenced rather by Aristoteles. Generally, all these views were not emerging for centuries in the state legislation. 


Információk a szerzőről

József Szécsi, Országos Rabbiképző-Zsidó Egyetem

főtitkár, Keresztény-Zsidó Társaság

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