Dr. Aaron Mackler

Aaron Mackler

Associate Professor
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Department of Theology

Fisher 606
Phone: 412.396.5985


Ph.D., Philosophy, Georgetown University, 1992
M.A., Jewish Theology, Jewish Theological Sem, 1985
B.A., Religious St, Biochemistry, Yale University, 1980

Dr. Mackler's research interests focus on substantive and methodological concerns in health care ethics, as well as theological ethics and Jewish theology. A special concern is dialogue between Jewish and Roman Catholic views. .

Dr. Mackler was ethicist for the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, where he played a central role in writing reports on physician-assisted suicide and health care decision making. He also taught as Visiting Assistant Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and has spoken on theology and health care ethics for professional societies and other audiences

Dr. Mackler is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, for which he is Chair of the Subcommittee on Biomedical Ethics. He currently serves as an ethics committee member for Pittsburgh Mercy Health System.

Health Care Ethics, Bio-Ethics, Interpersonal Ethics
Introduction to Jewish and Catholic Bioethics: A Comparative Analysis (Georgetown University Press, 2003)
Leavened with compassion, common sense, and a readable style, this introduction to complicated bioethical issues from both Jewish and Catholic perspectives is as informative as it is undaunting. Aaron Mackler takes the reader through methodology in Roman Catholic moral theology and compares and contrasts it with methodology as it is practiced in Jewish ethics. He then skillfully wends his way through many topics foremost on the contemporary ethical agenda for both Jewish and Catholic ethicists: euthanasia and assisted suicide, end-of-life decisions, abortion, in vitro fertilization, and the ever-growing problem of justice regarding access to health care and medical resources. A concluding chapter summarizes general tendencies in the comparison of the two traditions, and addresses the significance of convergence and divergence between these traditions for moral thinkers within each faith community, and generally in western democracies such as the United States. As Mackler overviews these issues, he points out the divergences and the commonalities between the two traditions-clarifying each position and outlining the structure of thinking that supports them. At the heart of both Catholic and Jewish perspectives on bioethics is a life-affirming core, and while there may be differences in the "why" of those ethical divergences, and in the "how" each arrived at varying-or the same-conclusions.
Life and Death Responsibilities in Jewish Biomedical Ethics, ed. Aaron Mackler (Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 2000).
Can abortion be morally right? When should life-sustaining treatment be stopped? How extensive are my responsibilities to support the health care needs of others? In the Jewish tradition, the central means of addressing these concerns is through halakhah, or Jewish law. This book presents papers on biomedical ethics that integrate the resources of millennia with the most recent developments in medicine and ethical thought. These include some of the most thoughtful and important works in Jewish medical ethics on such issues as treatment decisions near the end of life, abortion, and reproductive technologies.

"Spiritual and Religious Concepts of Nature," by Aaron L. Mackler, Ebrahim Moosa, Allen Verhey, Anne Klein, and Kurt Peters. In Altering Nature, Volume I: Concepts of ‘Nature' and ‘the Natural' in Biotechnology Debates, edited by B. Andrew Lustig, Gerald P. McKenny, and Baruch A. Brody. New York: Springer, 2008, 13-62.

"Homosexuality: A Case Study in Jewish Ethics," by Elliot N. Dorff, David Novak, and Aaron L. Mackler, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 28 (2008): 225-35.

"A Jewish View on Miracles of Healing," Southern Medical Journal 100 (2007): 1252-54.

"Jewish and Roman Catholic Approaches to Access to Health Care and Rationing," Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 11 (2001): 317-336.

"Jewish Perspectives on Embryo and Stem Cell Research." In Religious Perspectives in Bioethics, edited by John F. Peppin, Mark J. Cherry, and Ana Iltis (Lisse, Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger, 2004), 147-52.

"Respecting Bodies and Saving Lives: Jewish Perspectives on Organ Donation and Transplantation," Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 10 (2001): 420-429.

"Is There a Unique Jewish Bioethics of Human Reproduction?" Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics 21 (2001): 319-323.

"Natural Law in Judaism," Religious Studies Review 27 (2001): 121-126.