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What is the jewish view on reading biographies of remarkable gentiles which one finds inspirational provided there is no apikorsus in the content.

Have come across a website about a certain person who led a remarkable life, dedicated herself to living the golden rule. Is it permitted to read this stuff if it significantly inspires one to improve his conduct? or is it better to stay away

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@DoubleAA I've always thought it was interesting that Cheshbon HaNefesh is based on Benjamin Franklin, considering that Franklin himself was a notorious plagiarizer of sayings of Chazal (and Tanach, too). –  Fred Jan 27 '13 at 3:01
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I don't think anyone can be called a plagiarizer of tanach. That's like accusing someone of breathing for free. –  Seth J Jan 27 '13 at 3:59
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@SethJ Maybe so. I was sort of thinking that myself (hence the parentheses), but he didn't let on that the quotes were from the Bible. I suppose it could've been considered obvious though, especially in those days when (I assume) a higher percentage of the population could quote chapter and verse. –  Fred Jan 27 '13 at 4:17
    
The Cheshbon Hanefesh is an example of the USE of a gentile work. but maybe this is not permitted. is there any source for whether it is permitted? –  ray Jan 27 '13 at 18:39

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I think there would be no problem with this, especially if it is fully appropriate and they adhered to Jewish values (even though they weren't Jewish themselves). There are incredible and interesting gentiles out there, like Oskar Schindler and Benjamin Franklin.

Besides, I am not aware of anything that says that reading history is asur, and biographies are history, with some added inspiration.

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While your opinion is perhaps interesting, none of us know you that we should value it at all. Try editing to cite some sources for your ideas so we can learn from them. –  Double AA Mar 20 at 3:14

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