Defining Judaism: A Reader (Critical Categories in the Study of Religion)

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9781845536091: Defining Judaism: A Reader (Critical Categories in the Study of Religion)

This book illustrates the range of theoretical and practical issues involved in defining Judaism for the purposes of comparative and historical studies. The editor holds that sound definitions of religious traditions in general emerge from complex dialogues between "insiders," who define themselves vis a vis "outsiders," and "outsiders," who theorize and generalize about the self-definitions of "insiders." Accordingly, the texts anthologized here include examples of Jewish voices articulating their own "native" self-understanding as well as academic interpretive discourses proposing to place these self-understandings within historical, anthropogical, or phenomenological frameworks.

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Judaism is a monotheistic religion with a history of over 3,500 years. 'Defining Judaism' illustrates the range of theoretical and practical issues required for comparative and historical study of the faith. The texts range from historical attempts to define individual 'Jews' to imagining Judaism as a religion like other religions, to modern and post-modern attempts to decentre these earlier definitions. The reader brings together a wide range of essays from influential scholars of ancient and contemporary Judaism to attempt a full picture of Judaism that will be of interest to all those involved in the study of religion.

About the Author:

Aaron W. Hughes is Associate Professor of History and the Gordon and Gretchen Gross Professor in the Institute of Jewish Thought and Heritage at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters he is the author of The Texture of the Divine: Imagination in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Thought (Indiana UP); Jewish Philosophy A-Z (Edinburgh UP); Situating Islam: The Past and Future of an Academic Discipline (Equinox); The Art of Dialogue in Jewish Philosophy (Indiana UP); and editor (along with Elliot R. Wolfson) of New Directions in Jewish Thought (Indiana UP).

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