One significant gift of Judaism and Christianity is the concept that an individual is responsible and valuable apart from the group. As Larry Siedentop explains in his book Inventing the Individual, Western civilization’s moral and legal foundations owe a great deal to that legacy. Before that, the ancient Romans and Greeks considered loyalty to the family-clan to be an absolute religious duty.
Bruce W. Davidson
Bruce Davidson is professor of humanities at Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo, Japan.