Interpreting Judaism in a Postmodern Age

406 pages

November, 1995

ISBN: 9780814746752



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Part of the New Perspectives on Jewish Studies series


Steven Kepnes is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion and director of Jewish Studies at Colgate University. The author of The Text as Thou: Martin Buber's Dialogical Hermeneutics and Narrative Theology and coeditor of The Challenge of Psychology to Faith, he is currently Judaism editor for Religious Studies Review and is at work on a book entitled The Jew in a Postmodern World.

All books by Steven Kepnes

Postmodernity marks a time of creative conflict when the voices of the other, previously rendered silent by the majority, are prominently heard. What effect has postmodernism had on Judaism?

The neat narratives and metanarratives of the Jewish past are being questioned and deconstructed, allowing for different versions of Jewish history to emerge. For example, a postmodern exploration of the place of women in Talmudic culture can upset portraits of women as powerless and rabbis as closed off to female experience thereby helping to secure a place for women today. Similarly, an analysis of Zionism using concepts drawn from postmodern thinkers problematizes such basic Zionists concepts as nation, exile, and normalization, and raises significant questions concerning the relationship of Israel and the diaspora.

The twelve contributors, including Daniel Boyarin, Elliot R. Wolfson, and Laurence J. Silberstein, shed new light on the central texts and issues of Judaism through their postmodern interpretations. They offer up provocative perspectives on Bible and Midrash; Talmud and Halakhah; Kabbalah; Zionism; the Holocaust; feminism; literature; pedagogy; and liturgy.