Rethinking the Messianic Idea in Judaism

Indiana University Press
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Over the centuries, the messianic tradition has provided the language through which modern Jewish philosophers, socialists, and Zionists envisioned a utopian future. Michael L. Morgan, Steven Weitzman, and an international group of leading scholars ask new questions and provide new ways of thinking about this enduring Jewish idea. Using the writings of Gershom Scholem, which ranged over the history of messianic belief and its conflicted role in the Jewish imagination, these essays put aside the boundaries that divide history from philosophy and religion to offer new perspectives on the role and relevance of messianism today.
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About the author

Michael L. Morgan is the Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at Indiana University.

Steven Weitzman, the Abraham M. Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, is a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism whose most recent publications include Solomon: The Lure of Wisdom and a second revised edition of The Jews: A History.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Indiana University Press
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Published on
Nov 28, 2014
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Pages
454
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ISBN
9780253014771
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Judaism / History
Religion / Philosophy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The first major history of the scholarly quest to answer the question of Jewish origins

The Jews have one of the longest continuously recorded histories of any people in the world, but what do we actually know about their origins? While many think the answer to this question can be found in the Bible, others look to archaeology or genetics. Some skeptics have even sought to debunk the very idea that the Jews have a common origin. In this book, Steven Weitzman takes a learned and lively look at what we know—or think we know—about where the Jews came from, when they arose, and how they came to be.

Scholars have written hundreds of books on the topic and have come up with scores of explanations, theories, and historical reconstructions, but this is the first book to trace the history of the different approaches that have been applied to the question, including genealogy, linguistics, archaeology, psychology, sociology, and genetics. Weitzman shows how this quest has been fraught since its inception with religious and political agendas, how anti-Semitism cast its long shadow over generations of learning, and how recent claims about Jewish origins have been difficult to disentangle from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He does not offer neatly packaged conclusions but invites readers on an intellectual adventure, shedding new light on the assumptions and biases of those seeking answers—and the challenges that have made finding answers so elusive.

Spanning more than two centuries and drawing on the latest findings, The Origin of the Jews brings needed clarity and historical context to this enduring and often divisive topic.

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