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Secularism in Question
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Secularism in Question
Jews and Judaism in Modern Times

Edited by Ari Joskowicz and Ethan B. Katz

424 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth 2015 | ISBN 9780812247275 | $79.95s | Outside the Americas £64.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Jewish Culture and Contexts
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"Ari Joskowicz and Ethan Katz have offered an embarrassment of riches in this fine volume . . . of collected essays of such uniformly high quality and originality . . . The overall virtue of this book is to challenge and revise a number of shopworn assumptions in the study of Jewish secularism. Rather than regarding the secularization of the Jews as solely the product of external forces, the authors here are attentive to the inner dynamics of this process. But they—and especially the editors in their introduction—are also aware of the need for a comparative approach to the subject."—Politics, Religion & Ideology

"This volume has an excellent subject and an important agenda . . . [It] aspires to e-imagine the field by challenging 'the very terms that animate many of the most contentious debates in contemporary Jewish life.' It is surprisingly successful in doing so."—Journal of Contemporary History

"This is an important book. It deals intelligently with the issues of secularism from many different perspectives and contexts and will be of great interest to students and scholars of modernization, Jewish studies, and religion."—Richard I. Cohen, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

For much of the twentieth century, most religious and secular Jewish thinkers believed that they were witnessing a steady, ongoing movement toward secularization. Toward the end of the century, however, as scholars and pundits began to speak of the global resurgence of religion, the normalization of secularism could no longer be considered inevitable. Recent decades have seen the strengthening of Orthodox movements in the United States and in Israel; religious Zionism has grown and radically changed since the 1960s, and new and vibrant nondenominational Jewish movements have emerged.

Secularism in Question examines the ways these contemporary revivals of religion prompt a reconsideration of many issues concerning Jews and Judaism from the early modern era to the present. Bringing together scholars of history, religion, philosophy, and literature, this volume illustrates how the categories of "religious" and "secular" have frequently proven far more permeable than fixed. The contributors challenge the problematic assumptions about the development of secularism that emerge from Protestant European and American perspectives and demonstrate that global Jewish experiences necessitate a reappraisal of conventional narratives of secularism. Ultimately, Secularism in Question calls for rethinking the very terms that animate many of the most contentious debates in contemporary Jewish life and far beyond.

Contributors: Michal Ben-Horin, Aryeh Edrei, Jonathan Mark Gribetz, Ari Joskowicz, Ethan B. Katz, Eva Lezzi, Vivian Liska, Rachel Manekin, David Myers, Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Andrea Schatz, Christophe Schulte, Daniel B. Schwartz, Galili Shahar, Scott Ury.

Ari Joskowicz teaches Jewish studies and European studies at Vanderbilt University. He is author of The Modernity of Others: Jewish Anti-Catholicism in Germany and France.

Ethan B. Katz teaches history at the University of Cincinnati.

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