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

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

Paperback

By (author) Esther Benbassa, By (author) Jean-Christophe Attias, Translated by Patrick Camiller

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  • Publisher: ZED BOOKS LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 215mm x 12mm | 290g
  • Publication date: 1 November 2004
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1842773917
  • ISBN 13: 9781842773918
  • Illustrations note: bibliography, index

Product description

This freethinking book, structured as a dialogue between the authors, overturns conformist discourses and received ideas about Jewish culture and identity. It challenges pious myths and biases. What if the Jews were not the "descendants" of the Hebrews? What if the Jewish book was more the Talmud than the Bible? What if medieval judeophobia could not be identified with modern anti-Semitism? What if orthodoxy was not a return to cultural origins but a new creation? If these are all valid topics of debate, questioning the future of the Jews should not be beyond discussion.

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Author information

Esther Benbassa and Jean-Christophe Attias are professors of Jewish History & Culture, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne, Paris. They have been extensively published, and their books translated into many languages. The Jews and their Future has been translated by Patrick Camiller.

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 Point

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 choice.