The article attempts to broaden our understanding of faith and belief (Hebrew: emuna) in non-religious spheres in Israel, defining Israeli Jewish secular-believers as self-identified secular (Hebrew: hiloni) people who believe in “whatever may be considered as the divine”. It analyzes the emuna discourse of secular-believer women, as manifested in their religious/spiritual feelings, experiences, and interpretations. Employing the theoretical lens provided by William James (1842–1910) and his contemporary successors, the analysis reveals the deep-seated role of the Western, Protestant-oriented understanding of religiosity/spirituality as an individual and therapeutic path in the emuna discourse of secular-believer women. Furthermore, it underscores the centrality of gender and Jewish symbolism in this discourse, thereby resisting the universalistic impulse characteristic of James and his followers and suggesting that social particularities originating in religion and gender (and perhaps also ethnicity, class, and the like) should be taken into account in analysis of non-religious discourses concerning emuna.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 55-77
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.