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Myth of the Cultural Jew

Culture and Law in Jewish Tradition

«Kwall succeeds in writing an accessible while complex book that establishes her thesis through numerous historical examples from the fluid interplay of Jewish culture, the non-Jewish environments in which it was forged, and Jewish law and legal tradition. After providing a brief introduction to the themes that dominate the cultural analysis approach... Kwall delves into these themes through a fascinating series of critical historical episodes in the continuing debate over Jewish law and tradition.»

Marie Failinger, Journal of Law and Religion

A myth exists that Jews can embrace the cultural components of Judaism without appreciating the legal aspects of the Jewish tradition. This myth suggests that law and culture are independent of one another. Les mer

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A myth exists that Jews can embrace the cultural components of Judaism without appreciating the legal aspects of the Jewish tradition. This myth suggests that law and culture are independent of one another. In reality, however, much of Jewish culture has a basis in Jewish law. Similarly, Jewish law produces Jewish culture. A cultural analysis paradigm provides a useful way of understanding the Jewish tradition as the product of both legal precepts and cultural
elements. This paradigm sees law and culture as inextricably intertwined and historically specific. This perspective also emphasizes the human element of law's composition and the role of existing power dynamics in shaping Jewish law.

In light of this inevitable intersection between culture and law, The Myth of the Cultural Jew: Culture and Law in Jewish Tradition argues that Jewish culture is shallow unless it is grounded in Jewish law. Roberta Rosenthal Kwall develops and applies a cultural analysis paradigm to the Jewish tradition that departs from the understanding of Jewish law solely as the embodiment of Divine command. Her paradigm explains why both law and culture must matter to those interested in forging
meaningful Jewish identity and transmitting the tradition.

Detaljer

Forlag
Oxford University Press Inc
Innbinding
Paperback
Språk
Engelsk
ISBN
9780190627256
Utgivelsesår
2016
Format
24 x 16 cm

Anmeldelser

«Kwall succeeds in writing an accessible while complex book that establishes her thesis through numerous historical examples from the fluid interplay of Jewish culture, the non-Jewish environments in which it was forged, and Jewish law and legal tradition. After providing a brief introduction to the themes that dominate the cultural analysis approach... Kwall delves into these themes through a fascinating series of critical historical episodes in the continuing debate over Jewish law and tradition.»

Marie Failinger, Journal of Law and Religion

«The Myth of the Cultural Jew is an elegant and well-researched book that will be fascinating to Jews and non-Jews alike. First and foremost, Professor Kwall's work adds richness to the reader's knowledge and understanding of Judaism and Jewish law(halakhah), even to those readers who are Jewish.»

Leah Grinvald, DePaul Law Review

«[Kwall] brings together her twin passions of legal theory and Judaism. Would that more intelligent, scholarly Jews like Prof. Kwall apply their gifts to thinking seriously about the meaning and the future of Judaism!»

Laurence Edwards, CCAR Journal, The Reform Jewish Quarterly (Winter 2016)

«Kwall's survey of the Jewish past and present through the lens of "cultural analysis law" is enlightening and instructive, and especially the discussion of how the different denominations (and post denominations) of American Judaism have juggled legal and nonlegal considerations in confronting hot-button issues in modernity (who is a Jew, homosexuality, gender equality, etc.).»

Professor Tzvi Novick, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies

«Roberta Rosenthal Kwall in her very informative book "The Myth of the Cultural Jew" seeks to lay down a comprehensive and cohesive description of what Judaism was, is, and even what it ought to be....»

Joel S. Davidi, The Jewish History Channel

«A brilliant exploration of the relationship between law and culture in the context of Judaism. Kwall offers a provocative thesis and impressively analyzes a myriad of contemporary topics. This book is a 'must read' not only for all interested in Judaism, but for all who are studying the relationship between law and culture.»

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendme

«The Myth of the Cultural Jew will change the way in which lay people, academics, and Jewish clergy and professionals think about the development of Jewish law. It is the first book to apply to Jewish law the method of cultural analysis used in secular legal studies. This book also has broader implications, for Kwall uses this method to address the critical question for Judaism today»

What kind of Jewish religion and identity will be viable for the future? It is a 'must read' for any

«The Myth of the Cultural Jew is a fascinating book. It is both scholarly and practical, grappling with the challenges that face all of us in the contemporary world. Roberta Rosenthal Kwall writes a powerful and relevant message for the religious and non-religious alike. This book will lead you to a deeper understanding of who you are as a Jew in the 21st century.»

Rabbi Asher Lopatin, President, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School

«Kwall presents a drastic shift in the way we discuss Jewish continuity, calling her new paradigm 'cultural analysis,' a methodology which views law and culture as mutually influential and historically inseparable. Through this analytical lens, Kwall brings a fresh perspective to the questions that for generations have plagued those committed to Jewish survival.»

Avidan Halivni, New Voices

«It's a remarkable book, a tour de force all the more remarkable because its author is not a rabbi, not a Judaic scholar in the traditional sense, not a Talmudist at all. She is, however, very insightful, very bright, and full of the wisdom she brings from her own field of scholarly expertise to the domain of Jewish studies. I recommend her book to you all!»

Martin S. Cohen, The Ruminative Rabbi

«The Legal Theory Bookworm recommends The Myth of the Cultural Jew: Culture and Law in Jewish Tradition by Roberta Rosenthal Kwall.»

Professor Lawrence Solum, Legal Theory Bookworm, Legal Theory Blog

«Kwall does an excellent job analyzing that history and writing about the way law and tradition play out in today's world. This books starts an interesting and much needed discussion, one that will stimulate readers regardless of whether or not they agree with her.»

Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter Group

«This informative book ...is a meticulously researched study of how halakhah (Jewish law) and culture are interactional forces both shaping each other. Kwall deftly demonstrates how the use of cultural analysis can shed light on many important Jewish issues, including halakhah and ritual practice. The Myth of the Cultural Jew is a beautifully written book that will interest all readers who want to better understand Jewish religious and cultural practices.»

Carol Poll, Jewish Book Council

«The sheer breadth and depth of Jewish law and culture that Kwall comfortably explores as she supports her points are reason enough to read this book. The respect with which Kwall treats each group within Judaism is another hallmark of this book. Indeed in the end, it is that very process of Kwall's analysis that is the tour de force here.»

Susan P. Liemer, NoFo: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law & Justice

«The notion that culture and history can influence changes in halacha is a very slippery and threatening slope. Still, Kwall marshals a great deal of evidence to support her first argument [that Jewish culture produces Jewish law].»

Jay P. Lefkowitz, Commentary Magazine

«Roberta Rosenthal Kwall not only provides a unique framework for gaining a deeper understanding of [the issue of Jewish continuity] ... but also for gaining a deeper understanding of the evolution of halacha (Jewish law). Indeed, Kwall makes a major methodological contribution to the academic study of Jewish law and tradition. [Her] book deserves careful attention as we seek to transmit the beauty and richness of Jewish tradition to the next generation, and to enhance the quality of American Jewish life.»

Richard D. Zelin, Jewish News Service

«The Myth of the Cultural Jew explores the creative tension of modern Jews with understanding, yet keeps a cool eye on real-world dynamics. Well-written and compelling, the book should be required reading at universities and centers of Jewish learning. It's an invaluable guide to how various forces shape the Jewish psyche.»

Fern Siegel, The Huffington Post

«What a fascinating book it is! Guiding us through centuries of Jewish legal development, [Kwall] shows how generation after generation of Jewish sages, scholars, and commentators have been affected by the cultures in which they lived, incorporating ideas and values from non-Jewish cultures. Turning to modern times, she shows how debates over homosexuality, the role of women, and Sabbath observance have been influenced by modern cultural values.»

Jack Balkin, Yale Law School

«There is so much brilliance in this book, which takes on, among other complex areas, the various denominations of Judaism in the Diaspora, the role of Israel in Jewish identity, the religiosity (or secularism) of Israeli Jews, the place of feminism in Orthodox practice, and the challenges posed by same-sex relationships.»

Sherry Colb, Cornell Law School

«This fascinating book offers, among other things, detailed documentation of the extent to which conceptions of Jewish law and tradition have always been influenced by the broader cultures in which Jews have lived-not just in the modern Reform and Conservative movements, but also in traditionalist and Orthodox communities.»

Neil Siegel,

«For those wishing to understand the dynamics of change (or lack thereof) within Jewish law, Kwall's analysis is an excellent resource.»

Howard Freedman, JWeekly

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