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During the past two generations, Jewish public thought and discourse has differed dramatically from that of the era between the Emancipation and the Second World War. The chasm of the Holocaust and the watershed establishment of a Jewish state has radically changed the Jewish intellectual landscape. With their two largest concentrations in Israel and the United States, the Jews are no longer a European nation. Above all, the Jews, for the first time since they went into exile, have become free individuals, with the right to choose between the land of their birth and their ancestral homeland in Israel.
Are the Jews then a religious community dispersed among other nations? A community of equal citizens of various countries with their own cultural and historical identity? Or are the Jewish people a nation with its own homeland? However one answers this question, the political, socio-economic and cultural ramifications are enormous. Moreover, since world Jewry is now crisscrossed by divisions between religious and secular Jews, between groups of different cultural backgrounds, and between those living in a sovereign Jewish state and those who are citizens of other countries, it is the link between Israel and the Diaspora which confers a collective identity on this multiform entity. Yosef Gorny's central theme is Jewish public thought concerning the identity and essence of the Jewish people from the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel up to the present day. Chapters address such topics as The Zionist Movement in Search of a National Role, The Zionist Movement in Quest of its Ideological Essence, The Intellectuals in Search of a Jewish Identity, The Diminishing Status of Israel as a Jewish State, Revolutionary RadicalismThe Left-Wing Jewish Student Movement, 1967-1973, Neo-Conservative Radicalism, The Alternative Zionism of Gush-Emunim, The Conservative Liberalism, and In Defense of Perpetual Zionist Revolt. Reflecting the collective thinking of Jewish intellectuals, this is a volume of interest to anyone concerned with issues of Jewish identity.
In this publication new light is shed on the Qumran community, its organisational structure, its ultra conservative way of life, and how its leaders interpreted the books of the Old Testament by compiling their own commentaries. Emphasis is also placed on facilitating an understanding of references in the Gospels whilst providing an insight into a community that existed parallel to the New Testament community, and to which some of Jesus' followers could have belonged.
In hierdie publikasie word nuwe lig gewerp op die Qumran-gemeenskap, die struktuur waarin hulle georganiseer was en hul ultrakonserwatiewe leefwyse. Die wyse waarop hul leiers die boeke van die Ou Testament geinterpreteer het, blyk uit die kommentare wat hulle geskryf het. Hierdie publikasie help die leser om verwysings in die evangelies beter te begryp en bied insig in 'n gemeenskap wat in dieselfde tyd as die Nuwe-Testamentiese gemeenskap geleef het en waaraan sommige van Jesus se volgelinge moontlik behoort het.
Unlike earlier generations, Jewish American artists born between the 1930s and the early 1960s were among the first to overtly embrace and challenge religious themes in their work. These Jewish artists felt comfortable as assimilated Americans yet developed an overwhelming desire to explore their cultural and religious heritage. They became the first generation willing to take risks with their material and to discover new ways to create art with Jewish religious content. In his most recent book, Baigell explores the art and influences of eleven artists who enlarged the parameters of Jewish American art through their varied approaches to subject matter, to feminist concerns, and to finding contemporary relevance in the ancient texts. Along with detailed essays on each artist, the book includes nearly one hundred stunning illustrations that testify to the beauty, depth, and importance of the paintings and sculptures produced by this groundbreaking generation of artists.
The Bible is harshly opposed to participation by Israelites in the worship of other nations' gods. Was this strict command to the nation of Israel not to worship other deities extended to other nations? Or was it legitimate and acceptable for other nations to worship their own gods just as Israel worshipped the God of the Covenant?
In The Nations That Know Thee Not, Robert Goldenberg takes a historical look at attitudes towards foreign religions that are found in Israel's scriptures and in post-Biblical Judaism, and he traces an ambivalent attitude toward foreign religions as it developed through the history of Judaism. How did Jewish outlooks on gentile religions vary so much over time? As Jewish acceptance of paganism grew under rabbinic leadership, did Christianity become heir to other, harsher biblical attitudes toward other religions?
Systematically covering the entire range of Jewish literature of antiquity from the Bible through the rabbinic canons, Goldenberg sheds light on the ways in which ancient Jews understood the religious worlds in which they lived.
From the archetypical story of Abraham smashing his father's household idols to God's commandment at Mount Sinai that "You shall have no other gods before Me," the prohibition in Judaism against the worship of idols has been unyielding. Idolatry is conceived as the antithesis to the worship of the invisible, unnamed, and articulate God.
The proscription against using images in worship sets Judaism, together with Islam, apart from all other religious systems. In "Beyond the Graven Image, " Lionel Kochan sets out to explain the reasons for this prohibition and to demonstrate how influential this image-ban has been in determining key aspects of Jewish thinking. The Jewish conceptions of holiness and symbolism, our relationship with God, and the role of memory in religion, he argues, as well as the preference for non- material arts such as music over visual modes of artistic expression within Judaism, have all been profoundly shaped by the prohibition against physical representations of God.
Joseph Smith, Jr, founder of the Mormon movement, and George J Adams, one of his least known followers -- two Gentile dreamers of Zion -- were instrumental in encouraging Jews and Christians to support the restoration of Israel. For Joseph Smith, Jewish responsibility for establishing Zion had not been forfeited or terminated. It was continuous: the Jews would return as Jews; they would rebuild Jerusalem as Jews. In his view, neither the denigration of Jews, so often characteristic of Christianity, nor supersession by the Church, was tenable. According to Josephs perception of the Scriptures, and his own prophetic insights, there are to be two strategic centres -- Zion at historical Jerusalem, and Zion in a New Jerusalem in the heartland of America. He believed that a renewed Israel and a church, restored to its primal purpose, shared a mandate to body forth in society the dream of the Kingdom of God. He called this dream the cause of Zion, which became a major emphasis of the Mormon movement. Adams, separated from the Mormons following the assassination of Joseph Smith in 1844, founded his own Church of the Messiah. Most of his congregations were in Maine, where he readied his followers for a mission as the "Children of Ephraim", which he explicated with persuasive skill from the Old Testament. Later he led 156 of his followers to found an agricultural and commercial colony in Jaffa, Israel. This book explains the rejection by Smith and Adams of "normal" Christian replacement theology and sets out the apologetics by which Smith and Adams promoted courage and conviction in all who joined them in encouraging the in-gathering of the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem.
What does it mean to be a Jewish woman today? To an Orthodox woman, it means living a religious way of life in which serving God totally defines her self-perception and her role as wife and mother. For the secular woman, it means having a sense of belonging, although not necessarily to a specific Jewish community. Most contemporary Jewish women fall somewhere in between, but at the core of all of their identities is a complex interweaving of religious and ethnic elements, a shared history, and a collective memory of periods of prejudice, persecution, wandering, and resettlement.
Focusing on Jewish women in the United States and Britain, Adrienne Baker examines such issues as women's role in religious law, the spectrum of synagogue observance, the mother's role as conveyor of tradition, conversion and inter- faith marriages, and sexuality. In particular, the book examines the impact of feminism on Jewish women and their culture, uncovering the counterinfluences of tradition and new freedoms on women's lives.
The Rhetoric of Midwiferyoffers new insights into understanding these questions within the context of our present-day medical system.As a point of departure, Mary M. Lay analyzes the public discussion over non-academically trained-or direct-entry-midwives within Minnesota. From 1991-1995, that state held public hearings about the possible licensing of traditional midwives. Lay focuses on these debates to examine the complex relationships of power, knowledge, and gender within the medical profession. Lay examines the hearings and provides a framework for appreciating the significance of these debates. She also details the history of midwifery, highlighting ongoing concerns that have surfaced ever since the profession was created, centuries ago. In the remaining chapters, she focuses on the key testimonies offered during the debates. Capturing the actual testimony of midwives, home-birth parents, nurses, physicians, and attorneys, The Rhetoric of Midwifery reveals how the modern medical profession seeks to claim authority about birth. Lay bolsters her argument by culling from such sources such as historical documents, an internet discussion group, and conversations with modern midwives
A wide-ranging look at the history of Western thinking since the seventeenth century on the purpose of the Jewish people in the past, present, and future What is the purpose of Jews in the world? The Bible singles out the Jews as God's "chosen people," but the significance of this special status has been understood in many different ways over the centuries. What Are Jews For? traces the history of the idea of Jewish purpose from its ancient and medieval foundations to the modern era, showing how it has been central to Western thinking on the meanings of peoplehood for everybody. Adam Sutcliffe delves into the links between Jewish and Christian messianism and the association of Jews with universalist and transformative ideals in modern philosophy, politics, literature, and social thought. The Jews have been accorded a crucial role in both Jewish and Christian conceptions of the end of history, when they will usher the world into a new epoch of unity and harmony. Since the seventeenth century this messianic underlay to the idea of Jewish purpose has been repeatedly reconfigured in new forms. From the political theology of the early modern era to almost all domains of modern thought-religious, social, economic, nationalist, radical, assimilationist, satirical, and psychoanalytical-Jews have retained a close association with positive transformation for all. Sutcliffe reveals the persistent importance of the "Jewish Purpose Question" in the attempts of Jews and non-Jews alike to connect the collective purpose of particular communities to the broader betterment of humanity. Shedding light on questions of exceptionalism, pluralism, and universalism, What Are Jews For? explores an intricate question that remains widely resonant in contemporary culture and political debate.
When Christ, wearied by the heavy burden of the cross, leaned for a moment against a stranger's doorway, the stranger drove him away and cried, "Walk faster " To this, Christ replied, "I go, but you will walk until I come again " So began the legend of the Wandering Jew, which has recurred in many forms of literature and folklore ever since. George K. Anderson, in a book first published in 1965 and immediately hailed as a classic, traces this enduring legend through the ages, from St. John through the Middle Ages to Shelley, Eugene Sue, and the antisemitism of Hitler to recent movies and novels. Though the main elements of the legend are a constant, Anderson shows how changes in emphasis and meaning reflect civilization's shifting concerns and attitudes over time.
1 and 2 Kings unfolds an epic narrative that concludes the long story of Israel's experience with institutional monarchy, a sequence of events that begins with the accession of Solomon and the establishment of the Jerusalem temple, moves through the partition into north and south, and leads inexorably toward the nation's destruction and the passage to exile in Babylon. Keith Bodner's The Theology of the Book of Kings provides a reading of the narrative attentive to its literary sophistication and theological subtleties, as the cast of characters - from the royal courts to the rural fields - are variously challenged to resist the tempting pathway of political and spiritual accommodations and instead maintain allegiance to their covenant with God. In dialogue with a range of contemporary interpreters, this study is a preliminary exploration of some theological questions that arise from the Kings narrative, while inviting contemporary communities of faith into deeper engagement with this enduring account of divine reliability amidst human scheming and rapaciousness.
In Jewish Justice David Novak explores the continuing role of Judaism for crafting ethics, politics, and theology. Drawing on sources as diverse as the Bible, the Talmud, and ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy, Novak asserts Judaism's integral place incommunaldiscourse of the public square. According to Novak, biblical revelation has universal implicationsathat it is ultimately God's law to humanity because humans made in God's image are capable of making intelligent moral choices. The universality of this claim, however,stands in tension with the particularities of Jewish monotheism (one God, one people, one law). Novak'schallenge isforJudaism to capitalize on the way God's law transcends particularity without destroying difference. Thus it is as Jews that Jews arecalledto join communitiesacross the faithful denominations, as well assecular ones,to engage in debates about the common good. Jewish Justice follows a logical progression from grounded ethical quandaries to larger philosophicaldebates.Novak begins by considering the practical issues of capital punishment, mutilation and torture, corporate crime, the landed status of communities and nations, civil marriage,and religious marriage. He next moves to a consideration of theoretical concerns: God's universal justice, the universal aim of particular Jewish ethics, human rights andthe image of God, the relation of post-Enlightenment social contract theory to the recently enfranchised Jewish community, andthe voicesof Jewish citizens in secular politics andthe public sphere. Novak also explores the intersection of universality and particularity by examining the practice ofinterfaith dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
The late twentieth century has witnessed the emergence in every religious tradition of a strain of threatening and militant fundamentalism, yet, significantly, fundamentalists remain beyond the comprehension of the rest of the world. In 'The Battle for God' Karen Armstrong explains brilliantly and perceptively how and why their understanding of religion and society differs so starkly from that of their contemporaries.
"The quality of this remarkable book lies as much in its detail as in its sweeping vision… Fundamentalism cannot be put down by force. If it is to be defeated, it must first be understood. This wise and balanced book makes a significant contribution to such an understanding."
"The spectre of religious fundamentalism haunts our world, and most of us are not merely terrified, but puzzled by it… We need a patient guide… Karen Armstrong is this guide. Her new book is just what Westerners need at this junction in history."
"Armstrong displays all her usual talents: she has an eye for colourful evidence, a wonderful gift for clarity of exposition and an unerring sense of pace and voice in narrative… In her account of the late nineteenth century and the twentieth every line counts and every story grips."
"A remarkable book… the self-evidence of religious fundamentalism's role in recent history gives this book a power and relevance which make for truly compulsive reading… for the reader with even a marginal interest in religion or politics, it is an essential purchase"
"Her book should do so much to de-demonize fundamentalism and thus allow us to take it seriously and devise strategies for coping with it… humane and thoughtful"
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