Philosophers explore the cutlrual identity of Judaism
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edited by David Theo Goldberg and Michael Krausz
These original philosophical essays discuss the nature of Jewishness and the significance of cultural identity. Asking, Is there a Jewish self or only many persons who are Jewish? the contributors address paradoxes within Jewish culture and analyze what it means to identify with a culture and be recognized in terms of cultural membership. Several essays offer personal narratives, and many are concerned with reconciling personal and cultural identity from postmodernist or postfoundationalist assumptions. This volume is unique in its focus on the conceptual features of cultural identity, the conditions underlying commitment to contemporary Jewishness, and the cultural and moral obligations these commitments may entail. Engaging the debate between liberalism and communitarianism, individualism and collectivism, and particularism and universalism, the contributors ask, What does it mean at the close of the second millennium to be and to choose still to be a Jew?
In their Introduction, the authors observe what while there is a strong commitment to Jewish cultural and self-definition, the very diversity of Jews throughout the world raises in an especially acute way the general question of what it means to have a cultural identity. Other essays examine Judaism as a religion, the defining experience of the Holocaust, the centrality of Israel, and the "duty by kinship" to sustain culture. Several articles discuss the cultural condition of wandering, both physical and psychological, that has characterized the Jewish people and continues to foster fierce independence. These philosophers suggest that the diasporic condition of the Jews may be seen to symbolize the post-modern cosmopolitan and nomadic condition.
Part I: Culture and the Idea of Identity
Part II: Cultural Identity and Morality
Part III: Jewish Identity and Postmodernism
About the Contributors
David Theo Goldberg is Associate Professor in the School of Justice at Arizona State University. He has published three previous books, including Ethical Theory and Social Issues.
Michael Krausz is Milton C. Nahm Professor of Philosophy at Bryn Mawr College and Chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium. He has published five other books, including Relativism: Interpretation and Confrontation.
Contributors: Bernard Berofsky, Garry M. Brodsky, Cora Diamond, Leon J. Goldstein, Gabriel Josipovici, Asa Kasher, Gordon Lafer, Berel Lang, Joseph Margolis, Diana T. Meyers, Alan Montefiore, Hilary Putnam, Nathan Rotenstreich, Lionel Rubinoff, Richard Schusterman, Laurence Thomas, Eddy M. Zemach, and the editors.