Rethinking Jewish Philosophy: Beyond Particularism and Universalism

Hardcover | February 17, 2014

byAaron W. Hughes

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Jewish thought is, in many ways, a paradox. Is it theology or is it philosophy? Does it use universal methods to articulate Judaism's particularity or does it justify Judaism's particularity with appeals to illuminating the universal? These two sets of claims are difficult if not impossible toreconcile, and their tension reverberates throughout the length and breadth of Jewish philosophical writing, from Saadya Gaon in the ninth century to Emmanuel Levinas in the twentieth.Rather than assume, as most scholars of Jewish philosophy do, that the terms "philosophy" and "Judaism" simply belong together, Hughes explores the juxtaposition and the creative tension that ensues from their cohabitation, examining adroitly the historical, cultural, intellectual, and religiousfiliations between Judaism and philosophy. Breaking with received opinion, this book seeks to challenge the exclusionary, particularist, and essentialist nature that is inherent to the practice of something problematically referred to as "Jewish philosophy." Hughes begins with the premise thatJewish philosophy is impossible and begins the process of offering a sophisticated and constructive rethinking of the discipline that avoids the traditional extremes of universalism and particularism.

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Jewish thought is, in many ways, a paradox. Is it theology or is it philosophy? Does it use universal methods to articulate Judaism's particularity or does it justify Judaism's particularity with appeals to illuminating the universal? These two sets of claims are difficult if not impossible toreconcile, and their tension reverberates t...

Aaron W. Hughes holds the Philip S. Bernstein Chair of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:February 17, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199356815

ISBN - 13:9780199356812

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsPrefaceIntroduction: Occupation1. Impossibilities2. Irreconcilability3. Kaddish4. Authoritarianism: A Case Study5. Rosenzweig's Patient6. BeyondNotesBibliographyIndex