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Not in the heavens : the tradition of Jewish secular thought / David Biale.

By: Biale, David, 1949-.
Material type: TextTextSeries: JSTOR eBooks.Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, ©2011Description: 1 online resource (xiii, 229 pages).Content type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9781400836642; 1400836646; 9781282721968; 1282721968.Subject(s): Secularization (Theology) -- History of doctrines | Judaism and secularism | Secularism | Jews -- Cultural assimilation | Jews -- IdentityAdditional physical formats: Print version:: Not in the heavens.DDC classification: 296.3/7 LOC classification: BM195 | .B53 2011Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Introduction: origins -- God: pantheists, kabbalists, and pagans -- Torah: the secular Jewish Bible -- Israel: race, nation, or state -- Israel: history, language, and culture -- Conclusion: God, Torah, and Israel -- Epilogue: Legacy.
Summary: "Not in the Heavens traces the rise of Jewish secularism through the visionary writers and thinkers who led its development. Spanning the rich history of Judaism from the Bible to today, David Biale shows how the secular tradition these visionaries created is a uniquely Jewish one, and how the emergence of Jewish secularism was not merely a response to modernity but arose from forces long at play within Judaism itself. Biale explores how ancient Hebrew books like Job, Song of Songs, and Esther downplay or even exclude God altogether, and how Spinoza, inspired by medieval Jewish philosophy, recast the biblical God in the role of nature and stripped the Torah of its revelatory status to instead read scripture as a historical and cultural text. Biale examines the influential Jewish thinkers who followed in Spinoza's secularizing footsteps, such as Salomon Maimon, Heinrich Heine, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein. He tells the stories of those who also took their cues from medieval Jewish mysticism in their revolts against tradition, including Hayim Nahman Bialik, Gershom Scholem, and Franz Kafka. And he looks at Zionists like David Ben-Gurion and other secular political thinkers who recast Israel and the Bible in modern terms of race, nationalism, and the state. Not in the Heavens demonstrates how these many Jewish paths to secularism were dependent, in complex and paradoxical ways, on the very religious traditions they were rejecting, and examines the legacy and meaning of Jewish secularism today"--Provided by publisher.
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Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
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BM195 .B53 2011 (Browse shelf) https://ezproxy.uttyler.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctt7swxx Available ocn671644657

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Introduction: origins -- God: pantheists, kabbalists, and pagans -- Torah: the secular Jewish Bible -- Israel: race, nation, or state -- Israel: history, language, and culture -- Conclusion: God, Torah, and Israel -- Epilogue: Legacy.

"Not in the Heavens traces the rise of Jewish secularism through the visionary writers and thinkers who led its development. Spanning the rich history of Judaism from the Bible to today, David Biale shows how the secular tradition these visionaries created is a uniquely Jewish one, and how the emergence of Jewish secularism was not merely a response to modernity but arose from forces long at play within Judaism itself. Biale explores how ancient Hebrew books like Job, Song of Songs, and Esther downplay or even exclude God altogether, and how Spinoza, inspired by medieval Jewish philosophy, recast the biblical God in the role of nature and stripped the Torah of its revelatory status to instead read scripture as a historical and cultural text. Biale examines the influential Jewish thinkers who followed in Spinoza's secularizing footsteps, such as Salomon Maimon, Heinrich Heine, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein. He tells the stories of those who also took their cues from medieval Jewish mysticism in their revolts against tradition, including Hayim Nahman Bialik, Gershom Scholem, and Franz Kafka. And he looks at Zionists like David Ben-Gurion and other secular political thinkers who recast Israel and the Bible in modern terms of race, nationalism, and the state. Not in the Heavens demonstrates how these many Jewish paths to secularism were dependent, in complex and paradoxical ways, on the very religious traditions they were rejecting, and examines the legacy and meaning of Jewish secularism today"--Provided by publisher.

Print version record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Biale (Univ. of California, Davis) demonstrates the ways in which philosophers, theologians, writers, and political leaders who stand behind the modern reformulation of Judaism in social, cultural, and national terms "could never escape the tradition they overturn.. Rather, the leading figures of Jewish secularism--Hannah Arendt, Theodor Herzl, Hayim Nahman Bialik, David Ben-Gurion, Sigmund Freud, and many others whose work Biale carefully examines--depended on and developed themes that are nascent in exactly the Judaic religious tradition they sought to reject. Biale points out, e.g., the impact of the Maimonidean assertion of God's total otherness and his distilling of Judaism to 13 fixed principles on modern secularists' rejection of the biblical concept of God's active presence in the world. Through connections such as these, one sees that Jewish secularism emerged much more organically than previously recognized out of exactly the tradition it rejected. Biale covers a wide range of figures and the diverse approaches to secularism that stand behind modern modes of Jewish identification. This is a well-researched, cogently argued, and clearly presented volume. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers. A. J. Avery-Peck College of the Holy Cross

Author notes provided by Syndetics

David Biale is the Emmanuel Ringelblum Professor of Jewish History at the University of California, Davis. He lives in Berkeley, California. <p>

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