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Other titles in the Critical Categories in the Study of Religion series:
Defining Judaism: A Reader (Critical Categories in the Study of Religion)by Martin S. Jaffee
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Book News Annotation:
In introducing this anthology of a dozen reprinted readings from 1807-2008, Hughes (Jewish studies, U. of Buffalo/State U. of New York) broaches the difficulties those who teach religious studies have in defining Judaism. Authors (including Moses Maimonides, Saadya Gaon, Gershom Scholem, and Judith Plaskow) examine Judaism's historical and cultural contexts, including the community under early Islam and in relation to Germans, and from a feminist perspective. In the section on recent trends in re-defining Judaism, the editor expands the canon by studying the genre of the philosophical dialogue in medieval and early modern Jewish philosophy. Distributed in North America by The David Brown Book Co. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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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