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Classical Liberalism and the Jewish Tradition (Hardback)
  • Classical Liberalism and the Jewish Tradition (Hardback)
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Classical Liberalism and the Jewish Tradition (Hardback)

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£80.99
Hardback 190 Pages / Published: 30/09/2002
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The incongruence if not antagonism between modern liberalism and the Jewish sense of the world has been most notably articulated by Lionel Trilling. Certainly the imaginative limitations and intellectual smugness he discerned in his own ideological party found a parallel, in his view, in the embrace of liberalism by the American Jewish community. The consequences of that embrace entail both a superficial intellectual and religious culture and a misunderstanding of the social and political dimensions of Judaism. In Classical Liberalism and the Jewish Tradition, Edward Alexander engages in a wide-ranging exploration of the roots of the fundamental antagonism between liberalism and Jewish tradition from the nineteenth century to the present day.

Central to Alexander's arguments is his incisive critique of the distortion of modern Judaism as a child of the Enlightenment and the notion that specifically Jewish concerns, whether with Zionism, the Holocaust, or sacred and secular writings, constitute a narrow and parochial betrayal of liberal interests. The chapters are divided among political, religious, and literary subjects. The opening chapter on Mill's ambivalent attitude toward the Jews establishes terms of conflict between Judaism and liberal secularism and universality as do chapters on the antisemitism of Thomas Arnold and Marx and the more ambiguous Jewish self-identification of Disraeli.

Alexander examines such disparate topics as the hostility to the idea of a Jewish state on the part of numerous Israeli intellectuals, the disdain among liberals toward the specifically Jewish dimension of the Holocaust, and the capitulation of the Modern Language Association to the anti-Zionism of Edward Said. Turning to the uneasy status of Jewish religious texts and secular literature as sources of cultural revitalization, Alexander deals with the attempt by the Israeli scholar Adin Steinsaltz to bring the Talmud to the attention of contemporary Jewish readers and includes a chapter on his nineteenth-century precursor Emanuel Deutsch and his relationship to George Eliot. An analysis of Ruth Wisse's efforts to establish a modern Jewish literary canon is rounded out by chapters on two of the major figures of that canon: Isaac Bashevis Singer and Philip Roth.

While diverse in subject matter, Classical Liberalism and the Jewish Tradition is consistent in its unapologetic advocacy of a Jewish point of view and in its depth of scholarship in tracing the historical roots of contemporary attitudes and ideologies.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
ISBN: 9780765801531
Number of pages: 190
Weight: 424 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Edward Alexander is a powerful, conservative voice that deserves your attention... not necessarily because you will agree with him, but because the challenging and innovative quality of his ideas and his writing repays the effort many-fold."

--D.Mesher, "Judaism"

"These Incandescent essays, literate. Incisive, and astute, mark Edward Alexander as American Jewry's most accomplished critic of literature and politics. He brings wit and intellect to the task of the public intellectual, and he contributes conscience and morality to the common conversation. These assays embody the authentic votae of Judaism in the encounter with contemporary culture."

--Jacob Neusner, Research Professor of Religion and TheoloRy Senior Fellow. Institute of Advanced Theology, Bard College

"As a critic of modern Jewish literature, polities, and religion. Edward Alexander has few rivals. His essays are always timely, well-informed, incisive, bracing--a vigorous contribution to some of the most vital issues of our day. This is engaged criticism at Its best, and challenges us to see our culture in new and often unsettling -ways."

--Alvin H. Rosenfeld. professor. The Borns Jewish Studies I'rii.aram. Indiana University. Ifliwmington


"Edward Alexander is a powerful, conservative voice that deserves your attention... not necessarily because you will agree with him, but because the challenging and innovative quality of his ideas and his writing repays the effort many-fold."

--D.Mesher, "Judaism"

"These Incandescent essays, literate. Incisive, and astute, mark Edward Alexander as American Jewry's most accomplished critic of literature and politics. He brings wit and intellect to the task of the public intellectual, and he contributes conscience and morality to the common conversation. These assays embody the authentic votae of Judaism in the encounter with contemporary culture."

--Jacob Neusner, Research Professor of Religion and TheoloRy Senior Fellow. Institute of Advanced Theology, Bard College

"As a critic of modern Jewish literature, polities, and religion. Edward Alexander has few rivals. His essays are always timely, well-informed, incisive, bracing--a vigorous contribution to some of the most vital issues of our day. This is engaged criticism at Its best, and challenges us to see our culture in new and often unsettling -ways."

--Alvin H. Rosenfeld. professor. The Borns Jewish Studies I'rii.aram. Indiana University. Ifliwmington


"Edward Alexander is a powerful, conservative voice that deserves your attention... not necessarily because you will agree with him, but because the challenging and innovative quality of his ideas and his writing repays the effort many-fold."

--D.Mesher, Judaism

"These Incandescent essays, literate. Incisive, and astute, mark Edward Alexander as American Jewry's most accomplished critic of literature and politics. He brings wit and intellect to the task of the public intellectual, and he contributes conscience and morality to the common conversation. These assays embody the authentic votae of Judaism in the encounter with contemporary culture."

--Jacob Neusner, Research Professor of Religion and TheoloRy Senior Fellow. Institute of Advanced Theology, Bard College

"As a critic of modern Jewish literature, polities, and religion. Edward Alexander has few rivals. His essays are always timely, well-informed, incisive, bracing--a vigorous contribution to some of the most vital issues of our day. This is engaged criticism at Its best, and challenges us to see our culture in new and often unsettling -ways."

--Alvin H. Rosenfeld. professor. The Borns Jewish Studies I'rii.aram. Indiana University. Ifliwmington


-Edward Alexander is a powerful, conservative voice that deserves your attention... not necessarily because you will agree with him, but because the challenging and innovative quality of his ideas and his writing repays the effort many-fold.-

--D.Mesher, Judaism

-These Incandescent essays, literate. Incisive, and astute, mark Edward Alexander as American Jewry's most accomplished critic of literature and politics. He brings wit and intellect to the task of the public intellectual, and he contributes conscience and morality to the common conversation. These assays embody the authentic votae of Judaism in the encounter with contemporary culture.-

--Jacob Neusner, Research Professor of Religion and TheoloRy Senior Fellow. Institute of Advanced Theology, Bard College

-As a critic of modern Jewish literature, polities, and religion. Edward Alexander has few rivals. His essays are always timely, well-informed, incisive, bracing--a vigorous contribution to some of the most vital issues of our day. This is engaged criticism at Its best, and challenges us to see our culture in new and often unsettling -ways.-

--Alvin H. Rosenfeld. professor. The Borns Jewish Studies I'rii.aram. Indiana University. Ifliwmington

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