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The Jewish Social Contract : An Essay in Political Theology

By: Novak, David.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.New Forum Books: Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2009Description: 1 online resource (284 p.).ISBN: 9781400824397.Subject(s): Covenants - Religious aspects - Judaism | Democracy -- Religious aspects -- Judaism | Democracy - Religious aspects - Judaism | Judaism and politics | Judaism and state | Judaism and state | Secularism - Political aspects | Secularism -- Political aspects | Social contract - Religious aspects - JudaismGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: The Jewish Social Contract : An Essay in Political TheologyDDC classification: 296.382 LOC classification: BM538.S7 | N683 2009Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Contents; List of Abbreviations; Preface; Chapter One: Formulating the Jewish Social Contract; Chapter Two: The Covenant; Chapter Three: The Covenant Reaffirmed; Chapter Four: The Law of the State; Chapter Five: Kingship and Secularity; Chapter Six: Modern Secularity; Chapter Seven: The Social Contract and Jewish-Christian Relations; Chapter Eight: The Jewish Social Contract in Secular Public Policy; Bibliography; Index
Summary: The Jewish Social Contract begins by asking how a traditional Jew can participate politically and socially and in good faith in a modern democratic society, and ends by proposing a broad, inclusive notion of secularity. David Novak takes issue with the view--held by the late philosopher John Rawls and his followers--that citizens of a liberal state must, in effect, check their religion at the door when discussing politics in a public forum. Novak argues that in a "liberal democratic state, members of faith-based communities--such as tradition-minded Jews and Christians--ought to be able to adhere to the broad political framework wholly in terms of their own religious tradition and convictions, and without setting their religion aside in the public sphere. Novak shows how social contracts emerged, rooted in biblical notions of covenant, and how they developed in the rabbinic, medieval, and "modern periods. He offers suggestions as to how Jews today can best negotiate the modern social contract while calling upon non-Jewish allies to aid them in the process. The Jewish Social Contract will prove an enlightening and innovative contribution to the ongoing debate about the role of religion in liberal democracies.
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Contents; List of Abbreviations; Preface; Chapter One: Formulating the Jewish Social Contract; Chapter Two: The Covenant; Chapter Three: The Covenant Reaffirmed; Chapter Four: The Law of the State; Chapter Five: Kingship and Secularity; Chapter Six: Modern Secularity; Chapter Seven: The Social Contract and Jewish-Christian Relations; Chapter Eight: The Jewish Social Contract in Secular Public Policy; Bibliography; Index

The Jewish Social Contract begins by asking how a traditional Jew can participate politically and socially and in good faith in a modern democratic society, and ends by proposing a broad, inclusive notion of secularity. David Novak takes issue with the view--held by the late philosopher John Rawls and his followers--that citizens of a liberal state must, in effect, check their religion at the door when discussing politics in a public forum. Novak argues that in a "liberal democratic state, members of faith-based communities--such as tradition-minded Jews and Christians--ought to be able to adhere to the broad political framework wholly in terms of their own religious tradition and convictions, and without setting their religion aside in the public sphere. Novak shows how social contracts emerged, rooted in biblical notions of covenant, and how they developed in the rabbinic, medieval, and "modern periods. He offers suggestions as to how Jews today can best negotiate the modern social contract while calling upon non-Jewish allies to aid them in the process. The Jewish Social Contract will prove an enlightening and innovative contribution to the ongoing debate about the role of religion in liberal democracies.

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Novak (Univ. of Toronto) argues that individuals who accept the moral commitments established by their distinctive and particularistic religious heritage are better able to support the goals and methods of pluralistic democracies than those who, in the supposed interests of secular democracy, set aside their own religious beliefs. Phrasing his argument from the perspective of religious Judaism, Novak examines Jewish political and social thought from the Bible into contemporary times, explaining how, in each period, the Jewish social contract emerged; and showing how that contract, rooted in the biblical conception of covenant, supports Jews as they negotiate the social framework shaped by contemporary liberal democracies. Even as he carefully sets out the history of Jewish social and political thought in particular, Novak thus argues cogently against the school of thought identified with John Rawls, which asserts that full participation in a secular state requires all citizens to set aside their distinctive religious beliefs and commitments. Arguing that the opposite is the case, this volume will be of as much interest to readers in contemporary political theory as to those interested in the history of Jewish political thought. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above; general readers. A. J. Avery-Peck College of the Holy Cross

Author notes provided by Syndetics

David Novak is J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of eleven books, including Covenantal Rights (Princeton), which won the 2000 American Academy of Religion Award for best book in constructive religious thought.

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