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How Jewish is Jewish History?$
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Moshe Rosman

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113348

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113348.001.0001

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Hybrid with What? The Relationship between Jewish Culture and Other People’s Cultures

Hybrid with What? The Relationship between Jewish Culture and Other People’s Cultures

(p.82) Three Hybrid with What? The Relationship between Jewish Culture and Other People’s Cultures
How Jewish is Jewish History?

Moshe Rosman

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines some problems posed by the Jewish pluralism paradigm. With regard to the metasolution of influence, there is a firm article of faith shared by practically all of today's Judaica scholars that, in all times and places, pre-modern or ‘traditional’ Jews lived in intimate interaction with surrounding cultures to the point where they may be considered to be embedded in them and, consequently, indebted to them in terms of culture. This contrasts with an older conception of Jewish culture which represented Jews as living in at least semi-isolation from the non-Jewish world. The chapter thus demonstrates that there are more than these two possible approaches to the history of Jewish culture, and that these two themselves should be understood in a more sophisticated way. It asserts that the first approach (universal cultural influence, in its incarnation as hybridity theory), when applied mechanically, unimaginatively, and uncritically can be as ideological, dogmatic, and inappropriate as the second (Jewish cultural autonomy) often has been. The chapter next contemplates the metahistories implied by the various approaches to Jewish cultural history and their relationship to intellectual presuppositions for engaging in Jewish studies in the academy.

Keywords:   Polish Jewish cultural history, universal cultural influence, hybridity theory, Jewish cultural autonomy, Jewish culture, Jewish pluralism, Jewish cultural history

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