The Jews and Their Future

The Jews and Their Future : A Conversation on Judaism and Jewish Identities

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Against a backdrop of rebuilt identities, pious myths and even outright bias, Esther Benbassa and Jean-Christophe Attias open a dialogue in the course of which they upset conformist discourses and received ideas. What if the Jews are not the 'descendants' of the Hebrews? If their Book is less the Bible than the Talmud? If medieval judeophobia cannot be identified with modern anti-Semitism? If Orthodoxy is not a return to the sources but a new creation? If Zionism has succeeded precisely thanks to its failures? And if the time has come to stop denying the tensions that exist between Israel and the Diaspora? Between Ashkenazis and Sephardis? Between fundamentalists and liberals? And if, in particular, the transformation of the memory of the Holocaust into what amounts to a secular religion is now the main barrier to the universalism that, with exile and the celebration of life, has always been at the heart of Jewish experience? If these are valid topics for debate, then posing the question of the future of the Jews should certainly not be beyond discussion. This provocative and illuminating dialogue, open to all of us, explores the very foundations of our culture with precisely that authentic knowledge and freedom of thought the new century is in search of. Esther Benbassa and Jean-Christophe Attias are professors of Jewish Histrory and Culture at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne, Paris. Much of the work of these two outstanding Jewish scholars, including their Dictionary of Jewish Civilization and their book on Israel: The Impossible Land, has been translated into many different more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 132 x 214 x 12mm | 281.23g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • bibliography, index
  • 1842773917
  • 9781842773918

About Jean-Christophe Attias

Esther Benbassa and Jean-Christophe Attias are professors of Jewish History and Culture at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne, Paris. In addition to their own personal works, these two outstanding Jewish scholars, whose books have been translated in many languages, already coauthored Dictionary of Jewish Civilization, Israel, the Land and the Sacred, and Self-Hatredshow more

Table of contents

*1. What does it mean to be a Jew?*2. Modernity and Jewishness*3. From anti-Judaism to anti-Semitism*4. Jewish Nationalism and Zionism*5. Remembering the genocide: a new civil religion?*6. Ashkenazis and Sephardis exchanging looks*7. Judaism, Christianity, Islam: combining differences*8. Secularization and Jewish morality*9. Being a woman and Jewish*10. To remain Jewish, to become Jewish again, or to reinvent Judaism?*11. Diaspora identities, Israeli identities*12. From communitarian affirmation to the temptation to withdraw*13. Israel seen from within and from the Diaspora*14. Jewish intellectual freedom and the weight of conformism*15. Fascination with suffering or the challenge of life: a critical choiceshow more

Review quote

'This duo have a real penchant for provoking their readers. They love to shake old certainties and orthodoxies. And in this new book, they have transcended themselves by penning a magnificently iconoclastic dialogue.' - Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Le Nouvel Observateur 'Readers will be grateful to these authors for having opened up, and so richly, the 'Jewish Question' today -- highlighting the situation of Jewish people in the Diaspora.' - Sylvain Cypel, Le Monde 'This book positively invites debate. But on condition one first recognises the deep knowledge and openminded spirit that inspires it.' - L'Histoire 'These authors share a common passion for the history of Judaism, and an equal repugnance for prejudices, taboos, even panic that characterizes Judaism when it thinks it is under attack. Taking the form of a dialogue in the manner of certain old rabbinical texts, even socratic, they whisper their disquiet (intellectual, even spiritual) at the self-indulgence contemporary Judaism tends to engage in more than it would like to admit.' - Jean-Luc Allouche, Liberation 'What does it mean to be Jewish today? Is it to live in the cocoon of the Shoah and the fear of a resurgence of fascism? Is it to cover one's head, to support Sharon? Or is it to have a sense of belonging across boundaries? To answer these questions, the authors revisit the iconic images of the diaspora, zionism, anti-semitism, and also of the 'Jewish mother', the tensions between ashkenazi and sephardic Jews --- and deconstruct them with a delicate hand.' - Francois Dufay, Le Pointshow more