These essays represent a multidisciplinary approach to the study of religion and, especially, Judaism.
Setting aside common scholarly concerns with source criticism and history of interpretation, Shimon Levy argues that in Numbers 11 the redactor has forged diverse elements into a unity. Observing that much of what is said about Second Commonwealth Judaic culture is speculative, Jack Lightstone calls for radical revision of accepted portrayals of the period. Ira Robinson's study of al-Kirkisani's effort to differentiate magic and miracle while demonstrating the rationality of belief in miracle locates his thoughts in the context of Rabbinic and Muslim treatments of the subject.
While historians of modern Judaism have acknowledged in the influence of Kant and Hegel, Rousseau, contends Michel Despland, is often overlooked; he opened the way for changes in social and religious life. In Walter Benjamin's philosophy of history Charles Davis finds a significant combining of elements from Kabbalistic and Marxist thought. Michael Oppenheim finds a common core of concerns addressed by modern Jewish philosophers: a struggle with modernity, identification with Jewish thought and values, and commitment to their Jewish communities. Gershon Hundert's "Reflections on the 'Whig' Interpretation of Jewish History" argues—vis-à-vis the Jerusalem school of Zionist historians—that the responsibility of national historians to their community can be fulfilled only by repudiating ideologies that may stand in the way of the search for truth.
Howard Joseph's survey of teh extensive literature on the Holocaust indicates the options the authors find most worthy of continued focus. Jerome Eckstein critically examines one of the few published pieces by Joseph Soloveitchik, who combines the Talmudic genius of the Lithuanian Yeshiva world with mastery of the Western intellectual tradition. B. Barry Levy's study of the Artscroll series of translations of and commentaries on biblical literature examines the assumptions and methodology of the series and the hidden agenda that emerges.
Frederick Bird's comparison of charity ethics in Judaism and Christianity draws attention to the imprint on these ethics of the formative period of each religion.
The volume will be of interest to student of the Bible, Judaism, and Christianity.
About the authors
Harold Joseph teaches in the Department of Religion of Concordia University, Montréal.
Jack N. Lightstone is Vice-President Academic at Concordia University in Montreal. His previous publications include Society, the Sacred, and Scripture in Ancient Judaism and The Rhetoric of the Babylonian Talmud, Its Social Meaning and Context. Frederick B. Bird teaches Comparative Ethics and the Sociology of Religion at Concordia University.
Michael Oppenheim teaches in the Department of Religion of Concordia University, Montréal.
Other titles by Howard Joseph
Other titles by Jack N. Lightstone
Society, the Sacred and Scripture in Ancient Judaism
A Sociology of Knowledge
The Rhetoric of the Babylonian Talmud, Its Social Meaning and Context
Ritual and Ethnic Identity
A Comparative Study of the Social Meaning of Liturgical Ritual in Synagogues
Mishnah and the Social Formation of the Early Rabbinic Guild
A Socio-Rhetorical Approach