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Rethinking Modern Judaism Ritual, Commandment, Community

by Arnold M. Eisen

  • ISBN: 9780226195285
  • ISBN10: 0226195287

Rethinking Modern Judaism Ritual, Commandment, Community

by Arnold M. Eisen

  • List Price: $56.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 05/01/1998
  • ISBN: 9780226195285
  • ISBN10: 0226195287
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Description: Arnold M. Eisen here calls for a fundamental rethinking of the story of modern Judaism. Until now, scholars have told this story mainly in terms of belief changed or discarded because of the Enlightenment; Eisen focuses instead on the transformation of Jewish practice in response to the civil rights, economic possibilities, and social challenges that came with Emancipation.

Eisen traces five key phenomena which have crucially influenced Jewish practice over the past two centuries and which, he demonstrates, still figure prominently today: politics (state and social pressure to conform), explanation of the commandments (as reminders of universal truths), nostalgia (evocation of the ancestors), unending quest for authority (never found), and appeals to the sanctity of tradition (even in the course of its invention). More than simply a study or Jewish thought on customs andrituals, this pathbreaking book explores the central role that practice plays in Judaism's encounter with modernity and, indeed, in any religious or ethnic group's quest to articulate self-identity in an increasingly homogenized world.

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