Jewish Identity

Edited by David Theo Goldberg, and Michael Krausz
Book Cover

PB: $24.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-040-8
Publication: Jun 93

HC: $59.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-039-2
Publication: Jun 93

344 pages
6 x 9

Philosophers explore the cultural identity of Judaism


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.

Table of Contents

Introduction – David Theo Goldberg and Michael Krausz

Part I: Culture and the Idea of Identity
1. Cultural Diversity: Rights, Goals, and Competing Values – Diana T. Meyers
2. The Identity of Cultural and Personal Identity – Bernard Berofsky
3. Identification and Identity – Nathan Rotenstreich
4. Jewish Collective Identity – Asa Kasher
5. Thoughts on Jewish Identity – Leon J. Goldstein
6. Sahibs and Jews – Cora Diamond
7. Judaism and Jewish Identity – Hilary Putnam

Part II: Cultural Identity and Morality
8. Custodians – Eddy M. Zemach
9. Jewish Identity and the Challenge of Auschwitz – Lionel Rubinoff
10. Characterizing the Evil of American Slavery and the Holocaust – Laurence Thomas
11. Universalism and Particularism in Jewish Law – Gordon Lafer
12. Structures of Personal Identity and Cultural Identity – Alan Montefiore

Part III: Jewish Identity and Postmodernism
13. A Way of Being a Jew; a Way of Being a Person – Garry M. Brodsky
14. On Being Jewish – Michael Krausz
15. The Phenomenal-Noumenal Jew – Berel Lang
16. Next Year in Jerusalem? – Richard Schusterman
17. Going and Resting – Gabriel Josipovici
18. Talking to Myself – Joseph Margolis

About the Contributors
Index of Names

About the Author(s)

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.