Toward a Jewish (M)orality: Speaking of a Postmodern Jewish Ethics

By S. Daniel Breslauer | Go to book overview

identity arises through free dialogue with texts, not by submission to them or by constraining them through a priori categories.

Boyarin expresses his independence and freedom in certain programmatic considerations. The first of these emphasizes that tradition is a "process" rather than a "content." While the "corpus" of Judaism is textual, Boyarin sees the process of Judaism as a continual speaking. He calls for "reverbalization, reinscription, and ethnography" to create anew the Jewish body through the use of language. 36 This technique illustrates how postmodern sensitivity to the other moves from passive data to a creative activity. Being aware that bodies rather than just ideas construct the subject matter, Boyarin uses words carefully and avoids reifying what he investigates. Boyarin's reverbalization of Judaism reconstitutes its boundaries. Whereas some bodies--those of women, for example--may fall outside of some inscriptions of Judaism, the postmodern ethnographer will reinscribe Jewish identity to include those previously marginalized.

Boyarin closes his investigation with a generalized statement about the purpose of Jewish learning. "The task of Jewish study," he claims, "is to create community among Jews through time via language." This challenge animates many of his studies but need not become the absolute purpose of every investigation of Judaic studies. Boyarin provides an example of how a postmodern ethics might apply to the academic study of Judaism. By its very nature such a postmodern ethics would reject any grandiose "mission" or ultimate purpose. Boyarin's scholarship, however, does point in a positive direction. He suggests how a postmodern view of Judaism as ethics, as halacha, works itself out in the academic setting. A postmodern consciousness leads to a dissatisfaction with the structures of modernity. It provides a law, that is, a sense of the way that stories presuppose rules and rules presuppose stories, that urges a great flexibility and caution in the study of texts. This new Jewish process gains its identity from the texts it investigates, and its ethics from its unwillingness to define any text or meaning as ultimately satisfying. This halacha of the postmodern Jew entails a process of disciplined study, of academic pursuit of an ever elusive truth. It combines distance and nearness, objectivity and engagement.


NOTES
1.
See Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, Religion of Reason: Hermann Cohen's System of Religious Philosophy ( New York: Bloch, 1936).
2.
See Wendell S. Dietrich, Cohen and Troeltsch: Ethical Monotheistic Religion and Theory of Culture ( Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986).
3.
Hermann Cohen, The Religion of Reason: Out of the Sources of Judaism. Simon Kaplan , tr. ( New York: Frederick Unger, 1971), 71-78.
4.
Ibid., 149-50.
5.
Ibid., 164, 253.

-75-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Toward a Jewish (M)orality: Speaking of a Postmodern Jewish Ethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 172

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.