David Novak is a scholar of Jewish philosophy, law (Halakha) and ethics. He has rabbinical ordination and has trained with Catholic moral theologians. Novak taught at the University of Virginia and subsequently at the University of Toronto.
Novak has contributed to Jewish ethics by advocating a Jewish social ethics drawn from both the natural law tradition and Halakha. To this end, he interprets the rabbinic approach to Noahide laws as a useful grounding for cross-cultural moral reasoning. He also writes extensively on Jewish-Christian relations. His expertise includes Maimonides, John Courtney Murray, and Paul Tillich.
His specific normative claims in Jewish ethics include a curious mix of what may be characterized as liberal and right-wing positions. Novak had been affiliated with the liberal-leaning Conservative movement in Judaism and then shifted to the "Traditional Judaism" offshoot.
- Law and Theology in Judaism (volumes I and II) (Vol. 1 Foreword by Louis Finkelstein. New York : Ktav Pub. House, )
- Suicide and morality : the theories of Plato, Aquinas, and Kant and their relevance for suicidology. New York : Scholars Studies Press, c1975
- The image of the non-Jew in Judaism: an historical and constructive study of the Noahide Laws / David Novak. New York : E. Mellen Press, c1983.
- Halakhah in a theological dimension. Chico, Calif. : Scholars Press, c1985.
- Jewish-Christian dialogue: a Jewish justification. New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1989.
- The theology of Nahmanides systematically presented. Atlanta, Ga. : Scholars Press, c1992.
- Jewish social ethics. New York : Oxford University Press, 1992.
- The election of Israel : the idea of the chosen people. Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1995.
- Natural law in Judaism / David Novak. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
- Covenantal rights : a study in Jewish political theory / David Novak. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2000.
- DABRU EMET: A JEWISH STATEMENT ON CHRISTIANS AND CHRISTIANITY. A statement by four authors. .
- Leo Strauss and Judaism : Jerusalem and Athens critically revisited / edited by David Novak, Lanham, MD : Rowman & Littlefield, 1996.
- Philosophy and the Possibility of Revelation: A Theological Response to the Challenge of Leo Strauss by David Novak.