The Jewish Political Tradition

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Volume II: Membership

Edited by Michael Walzer, Menachem Lorberbaum, Noam J. Zohar; Co-edited by Ari Ackerman

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This thought-provoking second volume of The Jewish Political Tradition is concerned with the theme of membership. The book brings together the most important texts on membership topics from 3,000 years of Jewish history, many newly translated or translated for the first time. Commentaries from modern religious and secular scholars, representing a range of viewpoints on the right and the left, accompany the texts. Among the contributors are Arthur Isak Applbaum, Ruth Gavison, Moshe Halbertal, Martha Minow, David Novak, Ilana Pardes, Steven B. Smith, and Nomi Maya Stolzenberg. They deal with some of the most controversial issues in Jewish life, not only in the past but also right now.

Who is a Jew? How are the boundaries of a community drawn, and how are they policed? How does one join the community? How does one leave? The volume also takes up the question of degrees of membership: What kinds of hierarchies exist among Jews? In the final chapter, the book deals with "others," gentiles, because the boundaries of Jewish membership cannot be understood without asking who stands on the other side.

Michael Walzer is UPS Foundation Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Menachem Lorberbaum is senior lecturer in the department of Jewish philosophy at Tel Aviv University. Noam J. Zohar is senior lecturer in the department of philosophy at Bar Ilan University. Ari Ackerman is lecturer in the School of Education at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem. All four editors are research fellows at the Shalom Hartman Institute.

“These two volumes, the first in a projected four volume series, constitute an invaluable resource for students and teachers of Judaism. They present Judaism and Jewish history in a fresh and innovative way, presenting the reader with carefully selected sources, which are meticulously translated, deftly contextualized, and accompanied by superb commentaries from a team of talented scholars. . . . This is not a book that will be read cover to cover by all readers. It is, however, a vast and important resource which will be consulted for years to come by all interested in any aspect of Judaism and Jewish history.”—Ira Robinson, Journal of Religion & Culture

"There are many accessible books on Jewish history but far fewer on Jewish political thought—especially sound, scholarly volumes such as this. . . . This book is for the scholar and informed lay reader. Recommended for libraries with strong Jewish studies or religious thought collections."—Library Journal

"[This] second volume is as comprehensive as the first, and one looks forward to the completion of the series, which will provide an indispensable guide to the evolution of Jewish political thought. . . . Recommended. Graduate collections and up."—Choice

“The series to which this book belongs is unprecedented. . . . What each of these self-contained installments attempts to do—and, in my judgment, succeeds in doing—is to represent ancient and medieval Judaism and its post-Enlightenment successors as not just a religious tradition but an evolving and dynamic political culture. . . . Every one of the chapters enacts a debate that should have a living resonance, not just for Jews, although obviously for them, but for everyone with a historical sense and a political conscience.”—Hilary Putnam, Boston Review

ISBN: 9780300094282
Publication Date: April 10, 2003
Publishing Partner: Published with assistance from the Castle Fund
656 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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