Genocide in Jewish Thought

Genocide in Jewish Thought

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Among the topics explored in this book are ways of viewing the soul, the relation between body and soul, environmentalist thought, the phenomenon of torture, and the philosophical and theological warrants for genocide. Presenting an analysis of abstract modes of thought that have contributed to genocide, the book argues that a Jewish model of concrete thinking may inform our understanding of the abstractions that can lead to genocide. Its aim is to draw upon distinctively Jewish categories of thought to demonstrate how the conceptual defacing of the other human being serves to promote the murder of peoples, and to suggest a way of thinking that might help prevent genocide.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139227742
  • 9781139227742

Review quote

Advance Praise: "David Patterson's Genocide in Jewish Thought is a stunning tour de force that sensitively and with great erudition brings together the disciplines of philosophy, psychology, and theology. It reveals the deadly embrace between abstract thinking and genocidal action both in National Socialism and in Jihadist Jew-hatred. Patterson illuminates the reasons that Jewish calls for concrete action in the world may help deter torture and genocide." -Alan L. Berger, Raddock Family Eminent Scholar Chair in Holocaust Studies, Florida Atlantic University "Patterson's outstanding analysis of especially Jewish and Christian cognitive categories explicates how processes of abstract Christian philosophies/theologies can lead to genocide, since they obscure the human face. In opposition, Jewish thought invokes the existential person and so reduces the possibility of such events as the Shoah. This book should be read by every scholar who is interested in understanding the roots of sanctioned murder." -Donald J. Dietrich, Boston College "David Patterson brings a much-needed and sober voice to contemporary discussions of genocide and genocidal thinking: that of the philosophically-grounded Judaically- and religiously-committed scholar whose knowledge of Judaism is above reproach and who brings that vast literature both to critique and to inform our present understandings and conversations. One can justly hope that Genocide in Jewish Thought will receive the widest possible audience and further enlighten all those committed not only to the burgeoning field of Genocide Studies but to Holocaust Studies as well." -Steven Leonard Jacobs, Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies, The University of Alabama "Boldly and persuasively, David Patterson argues that 'Jewish reflection on humanity' contains keys to lock the doors leading to genocide. Steeped in Jewish texts and Hebrew language, ever mindful of genocide's brutality, this book brims with political savvy, philosophical intelligence, and ethical insight rooted in the divine commandment: 'You shall not murder.'" -John K. Roth, Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College
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About David Patterson

David Patterson holds the Hillel Feinberg Chair in Holocaust Studies in the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has taught at Oklahoma State University and the University of Oregon. A winner of the National Jewish Book Award and the Koret Jewish Book Award, Patterson has published more than 30 books and 140 articles and chapters in journals and books on philosophy, literature, Judaism, the Holocaust, and education. His writings have been anthologized in five different collections.
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Table of contents

1. Introduction: a name, not an essence; 2. Why Jewish thought and what makes it Jewish?; 3. Deadly philosophical abstraction; 4. The stranger in your midst; 5. Nefesh: the soul as flesh and blood; 6. The environmentalist contribution to genocide; 7. Torture; 8. Hunger and homelessness; 9. Philosophy, religion, and genocide; 10. A concluding reflection on body and soul.
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