Judaism: The Genealogy of a Modern Notion

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Rutgers University Press, 2018 - FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY - 217 pages
"We treat the word Judaism as a given for describing the religion of Jews. But the term is in some ways socially constructed, rather than inevitable. After all, exactly what would constitute "authentic" Judaism? Some have argued that there are multiple Judaisms, going in the direction of plurals that so many scholars find satisfying. But Boyarin takes a different tack, proposing that before the modern era there should be no "Judiasm" at all. For Boyarin, there was no sphere of life that can be called Judaism that was separate from the political, artistic, and cultural elements of life. Moreover, he argues that Judaism is a Christian coinage to serve Christian discursive purposes by setting what we call Judaism in opposition to Christianity and that the term has little utility for Jews. The various Jewish languages have no such concept and no such term. He believes that categories drawn from outside the culture are anachronistic, not informative. Boyarin will be making a case for substituting Jewry for Judaism. Jewry is a concept that integrates many aspects of the lives of Jews, rather than separating out religion from other aspects of life"--

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About the author (2018)

DANIEL BOYARIN is the Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Imagine no Religion: How Modern Abstractions Hide Ancient Realities.

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