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Must a Jew Believe Anything?$
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Menachem Kellner

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774495

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774495.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Why Judaism Acquired a Systematic Theology

Why Judaism Acquired a Systematic Theology

(p.44) Three Why Judaism Acquired a Systematic Theology
Must a Jew Believe Anything?

Menachem Kellner

Liverpool University Press

This chapter argues that only an interpreter approaching the mishnah beginning ‘All Israelites have a share in the world to come…’ with the prior assumption that Judaism has a systematic theology like Islam or Christianity would read it as either a statement of dogma or a test of theological orthodoxy. It asserts that there is nothing inherent in monotheistic faith which demands that it find expression in systematic theology. The chapter contends that only if one assumes that such theology must underlie any monotheistic faith will one see the mishnah as an expression of systematic theology. But that very assumption is one which must come from outside Judaism. In other words, this chapter is based upon the presupposition that all monotheistic religions have systematic theologies. But the fact that both Islam and Christianity express themselves in that fashion does not mean that all monotheistic faiths do so, or ought to do so — as classical Judaism certainly did not.

Keywords:   systematic theology, monotheistic faiths, monotheistic religions, Judaism, rabbinic Judaism, theological orthodoxy, dogma

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