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Interim Judaism

Jewish Thought in a Century of Crisis

Michael L. Morgan

Publication Year: 2001

Interim Judaism
Jewish Thought in a Century of Crisis

Michael L. Morgan

Probes the impact of the 20th century on Jewish belief and practice.

Confronting the challenges of the 20th century, from modernity and the Great War to the Holocaust and postmodern culture, Jewish thinkers have wrestled with such fundamental issues as redemption and revelation, eternity and history, messianism and politics. From the turn of the century through the 1920s, European Jewish intellectuals confronted alienation and the challenges of modernity by seeking secure grounds for a meaningful life. After the Holocaust and the fall of Nazism, the rich results of their thinking -- on topics such as transcendence, redemption, revelation, and politics -- were reinterpreted in an atmosphere of increasing disillusion and fragmentation. In Interim Judaism, Michael L. Morgan traces the evolution of this shift in values, as expressed in the work of social thinkers, novelists, artists, and poets as well as philosophers and theologians at the beginning and end of the century. Focusing on the problem of objectivity, the experience of the transcendent, and the relationship between redemption and politics, he argues that the outcome for contemporary Jews is a pragmatic style of religiosity that has abandoned traditional conceptions of Judaism and is searching and waiting for new ones, a condition that he describes as "interim Judaism."

Michael L. Morgan is Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is author of Platonic Piety and Dilemmas in Modern Jewish Thought (Indiana University Press). He has edited The Jewish Thought of Emil Fackenheim; Classics in Moral and Political Theory; Jewish Philosophers and Jewish Philosophy (Indiana University Press); and A Holocaust Reader: Responses to the Nazi Extermination. With Paul Franks, he has translated and edited Franz Rosenzweig: Philosophical and Theological Writings.

Published with the generous support of Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati

July 2001
128 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
cloth 0-253-33856-5 $35.00 L /

Published by: Indiana University Press

TOC

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pp. vii-

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Acknowledgment

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pp. ix-

I would like to thank Shelly Zimmerman, the President of the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, and the faculty of the College–Institute for the invitation to deliver the Goldenson Lectures. During my visits to Cincinnati from Bloomington, Dean Ken Ehrlich was a gracious and attentive host. ...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xv

This book grew out of three Samuel Goldenson Lectures, delivered at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in April, 1999. In the lectures and now in the book, I try to ask where Jewish life and Jewish thought in America find themselves at the turn of the twenty-first century. ...

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1. The Problem of Objectivity Before and After Auschwitz

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pp. 1-45

The twentieth century has been called a short century, beginning with World War I in 1914 and ending with the fall of the Soviet empire in 1989.1 But the length and character of a century are not always marked by such transforming events. One might just as usefully view the twentieth century as longer than one hundred years, ...

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2. Revelation, Language, and the Search for Transcendence

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pp. 46-82

In recent decades, in America and throughout the world, there has been a resurgence of religious sensibility. This process includes a return to ritual practice, a widespread interest in religious texts, and a surge of religious activity in politics. The latter has not been only an American phenomenon, marked by the growth of the Christian right ...

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3. Messianism and Politics: Incremental Redemption

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pp. 83-118

A hundred years ago, at the turn of the century, modern Zionism was in the midst of its first decade, and even then, it was clear to many that Zionism was a messianic movement, a movement deeply implicated in Judaism’s historical destiny, its goals, and its hopes. The conflicts between Theodore Herzl and Ahad Ha-Am ...

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Conclusion: Judaism Before Theory

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pp. 119-124

Jewish theological reflection, like modernist intellectual culture in general, began in the twentieth century with a sensitivity to the alienation and fragmentation of urban society and a desire to articulate some kind of “grand theory” as a response to it. The Jewish life that has emerged in America ...

Notes

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pp. 125-142

Index

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pp. 143-146


E-ISBN-13: 9780253108517
E-ISBN-10: 0253108519
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253338563

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2001