The Jews of Islam: Updated Edition

Princeton University Press
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Free sample

This landmark book probes Muslims' attitudes toward Jews and Judaism as a special case of their view of other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim societies. With authority, sympathy and wit, Bernard Lewis demolishes two competing stereotypes: the Islamophobic picture of the fanatical Muslim warrior, sword in one hand and Qur'ān in the other, and the overly romanticized depiction of Muslim societies as interfaith utopias.

Featuring a new introduction by Mark R. Cohen, this Princeton Classics edition sets the Judaeo-Islamic tradition against a vivid background of Jewish and Islamic history. For those wishing a concise overview of the long period of Jewish-Muslim relations, The Jews of Islam remains an essential starting point.

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About the author

Bernard Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, a long-term member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the author of numerous works on the Middle East. Mark R. Cohen is the Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor Emeritus of Jewish Civilization in the Near East at Princeton.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Sep 28, 2014
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781400852222
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / General
Social Science / Islamic Studies
Social Science / Jewish Studies
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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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Israel is a modern state whose institutions were clearly shaped by an ideological movement. The declaration of independence in 1948 was an immediate expression of the fundamental Zionist idea: it gave effect to a plan advocated by organized Zionists since the 1880s for solving the Jewish Problem. Thus, major Israeli political institutions, such as the party structure, embody principles and practices that were followed in the World Zionist Organization. In this respect, Israel is similar to other new states whose political institutions directly derive from the nationalist movements that won their independence. History and social structure are inseparably joined; the contemporary social problems of the new state are clearly rooted in its history, while the shape of its future is being decided by the very policies through which it is trying to solve these problems. At the same time, there are many unique aspects to the birth of Israel. The problem to be solved by acquiring sovereignty in Israel (and establishing a free Jewish society there) was the problem of a people living in exile. The first stage, therefore, was to return to the people a homeland to which they were intimately attached, not only in their dreams but in the minute details of their ways of life. This important book studies the birth of the State of Israel and analyzes the elaborately articulated and variegated ideological principles of the Zionist movement that led to that birth. It examines conflicting pre-state ideals and the social structure that emerged in Palestine's Jewish community during the Mandate period. In particular, Zionism and the Creation of a New Society reflects upon Israel's existence as both a state and a social structure--a place conceived before its birth as a means of solving a particular social malady: the modern Jewish Problem. Jehuda Reinharz and the late Ben Halpern carefully trace the development of the Zionist idea from its earliest expressions up to the eve of World War II, setting their study against a broad background of political and social development throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Originally published in 1957, this classic work has guided generations of scholars through the arcane mysteries of medieval political theology. Throughout history, the notion of two bodies has permitted the post mortem continuity of monarch and monarchy, as epitomized by the statement, "The king is dead. Long live the king." In The King's Two Bodies, Ernst Kantorowicz traces the historical problem posed by the "King's two bodies"--the body natural and the body politic--back to the Middle Ages and demonstrates, by placing the concept in its proper setting of medieval thought and political theory, how the early-modern Western monarchies gradually began to develop a "political theology.?

The king's natural body has physical attributes, suffers, and dies, naturally, as do all humans; but the king's other body, the spiritual body, transcends the earthly and serves as a symbol of his office as majesty with the divine right to rule. The notion of the two bodies allowed for the continuity of monarchy even when the monarch died, as summed up in the formulation "The king is dead. Long live the king."

Bringing together liturgical works, images, and polemical material, The King's Two Bodies explores the long Christian past behind this "political theology." It provides a subtle history of how commonwealths developed symbolic means for establishing their sovereignty and, with such means, began to establish early forms of the nation-state.

Kantorowicz fled Nazi Germany in 1938, after refusing to sign a Nazi loyalty oath, and settled in the United States. While teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, he once again refused to sign an oath of allegiance, this one designed to identify Communist Party sympathizers. He was dismissed as a result of the controversy and moved to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he remained for the rest of his life, and where he wrote The King's Two Bodies.

Featuring a new introduction, The King's Two Bodies is a subtle history of how commonwealths developed symbolic means for establishing their sovereignty and, with such means, began to establish early forms of the nation-state.

Covenantal Rights is a groundbreaking work of political theory: a comprehensive, philosophically sophisticated attempt to bring insights from the Jewish political tradition into current political and legal debates about rights and to bring rights discourse more fully into Jewish thought. David Novak pursues these aims by presenting a theory of rights founded on the covenant between God and the Jewish people as that covenant is constituted by Scripture and the rabbinic tradition. In doing so, he presents a powerful challenge to prevailing liberal and conservative positions on rights and duties and opens a new chapter in contemporary Jewish political thinking.

For Novak, "covenantal rights" are rooted in God's primary rights as creator of the universe and as the elector of a particular community whose members relate to this God as their sovereign. The subsequent rights of individuals and communities flow from God's covenantal promises, which function as irrevocable entitlements. This presents a sharp contrast to the liberal tradition, in which rights flow above all from individuals. It also challenges the conservative idea that duties can take precedence over rights, since Novak argues that there are no covenantal duties that are not backed by correlative rights. Novak explains carefully and clearly how this theory of covenantal rights fits into Jewish tradition and applies to the relationships among God, the covenanted community, and individuals. This work is a profound and provocative contribution to contemporary religious and political theory.

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