• artificial life;
  • biotechnology;
  • cloning;
  • corporations;
  • DNA;
  • Frankenstein;
  • genetically modified food;
  • golem;
  • in vitro;
  • robotics;
  • stem cells


The legend of the golem, the creation of life through mystical and magical means, is the most famous postbiblical Jewish legend. After noting recent references to the golem legend in fiction, film, art, and scientific literature, I outline three stages of the development of the legend, including its relationship to the story of Frankenstein. I apply teachings about the golem in classical Jewish religious literature to implications of the legend for ethical issues relating to bioengineering, reproductive biotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, artificial life, and corporate ethics. The golem legend emerges as a source of prudent guidance through the minefield of ethical and spiritual problems emerging from current and expected developments in biotechnology.