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Price: $85.95

Hardback 208 pp.
6.125" x 9.25"



Publication date:
February 2014

Imprint: OUP US

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Rethinking Jewish Philosophy

Beyond Particularism and Universalism

Aaron W. Hughes

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 to reconcile, 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 religious filiations 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 that Jewish 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.

Readership : Suitable for scholars and students of Jewish studies and philosophy.

Introduction: Occupation
1. Impossibilities
2. Irreconcilability
3. Kaddish
4. Authoritarianism: A Case Study
5. Rosenzweig's Patient
6. Beyond

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

Making Sense - Margot Northey and Joan McKibbin
The Discipline of Philosophy and the Invention of Modern Jewish Thought - Willi Goetschel
The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality - Edited by Elliot N. Dorff and Jonathan K. Crane

Special Features

  • Presents a new theory of Jewish philosophy that breaks with centuries of received opinion.
  • Offers new readings of traditional Jewish philosophers.
  • Moves beyond identity politics.