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This volume brings together several of Prof. S.N. Eisenstadt's essays written over the years on Jewish history and identity.
The major argument of the essays follows the Weberian view of Jewish historical experience as that of a distinct civilization, as a distinct Great Religion, the first monotheistic civilization - without, however, accepting many of Weber's concrete analyses. The core of the argument that underlies these essays is, that the best way to understand the Jewish experience is to look on Jews not just as a religious or ethnic group, nation or "people", although they have been all of these, but as bearers of a distinct civilization.
These essays examine the historical experience of the Jewish people and communities in ancient medieval and modern times in the framework of such civilizational analysis in which special attention is given to the analysis of Israeli society and to the continual changing place of Israel in a central component of Jewish identity, in line with the different historical experience and collective agendas of the Jewish communities.
Section I The Jewish Historical Experience in the Civilizational Framework
CHAPTER ONE, The Format of Jewish History - Some Reflections on Weber’s Ancient Judaism CHAPTER TWO, The Jewish Historical Experience in the Framework of Comparative Universal History CHAPTER THREE, The Jewish Experience in the Modern Era Section II The Zionist Movement and Israeli Story
CHAPTER FOUR, Did Zionism Bring the Jews back to History?
CHAPTER FIVE, Change and Continuity in Israeli Society CHAPTER SIX, The Mahapach of 1977 and the Transformation of Israeli Society CHAPTER SEVEN, Israeli Identity: Problems in the Development of the Collective Identity of an Ideological Society CHAPTER EIGHT, Israeli Politics and the Jewish Political Tradition: Principled Political Anarchism and the Rule of the Court CHAPTER NINE, Two New Democracies, the U.S. and Israel: Some Comparative Remarks Section III The Jewish Experience in the Contemporary Era
CHAPTER TEN, The American Jewish Experience and American Pluralism: A Comparative Perspective CHAPTER ELEVEN, Patterns of Contemporary Jewish Identity CHAPTER TWELVE, The Jewish Experience in the Contemporary Era: Some Concluding Observations