The Jewish Social Contract: An Essay in Political Theology / Edition 1

The Jewish Social Contract: An Essay in Political Theology / Edition 1

by David Novak
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691122105

ISBN-13: 9780691122106

Pub. Date: 09/26/2005

Publisher: Princeton University Press

The Jewish Social Contract begins by asking how a traditional Jew can participate politically and socially and in good faith in a modern democratic society, and ends by proposing a broad, inclusive notion of secularity.

David Novak takes issue with the view--held by the late philosopher John Rawls and his followers--that citizens of a liberal state must,

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Overview

The Jewish Social Contract begins by asking how a traditional Jew can participate politically and socially and in good faith in a modern democratic society, and ends by proposing a broad, inclusive notion of secularity.

David Novak takes issue with the view--held by the late philosopher John Rawls and his followers--that citizens of a liberal state must, in effect, check their religion at the door when discussing politics in a public forum. Novak argues that in a "liberal democratic state, members of faith-based communities--such as tradition-minded Jews and Christians--ought to be able to adhere to the broad political framework wholly in terms of their own religious tradition and convictions, and without setting their religion aside in the public sphere.

Novak shows how social contracts emerged, rooted in biblical notions of covenant, and how they developed in the rabbinic, medieval, and "modern periods. He offers suggestions as to how Jews today can best negotiate the modern social contract while calling upon non-Jewish allies to aid them in the process. The Jewish Social Contract will prove an enlightening and innovative contribution to the ongoing debate about the role of religion in liberal democracies.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691122106
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/26/2005
Series:
New Forum Books Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations ix

Preface xi

Chapter One: Formulating the Jewish Social Contract 1

The Democratic Contract 1

The Political Value of the Social Contract 7

A Contract between Minorities 10

Community and Society 12

Claims for Cultural Autonomy 21

Chapter Two: The Covenant 30

Covenant and Social Contract 30

The Noahide Covenant 34

Divine Interest in the Covenant 36

Interhuman Covenants 40

The Covenant between God and Israel 47

Covenants between Jews 53

Covenants between Jews and Gentiles 56

Contracts: Social and Private 59

Chapter Three: The Covenant Reaf .rmed 65

Covenantal Necessity 65

The Voluntary Covenant 70

Covenantal Autonomy 77

Some Social Contracts within Judaism 81

Chapter Four: The Law of the State 91

Political Subordination 91

The Law of the Gentiles 100

Palestine and Babylonia 103

Samuel's Principle 114

Secularity and Secularism 120

Chapter Five: Kingship and Secularity 124

Royal Law 124

Royal Justice 132

Ibn Adret's Halakhic Answer 142

Gerondi's Theological Answer 147

Abravanel's Philosophical Answer 150

Chapter Six: Modern Secularity 157

The Dawn of Modernity 157

Baruch Spinoza: Covenant as Social Contract 158

Moses Mendelssohn: Judaism as a Religious Denomination 164

Religious Pluralism in a Secular State 169

Traditional Judaism Continued in the Secular State 173

Mendelssohn's Problematic Legacy for Judaism 178

Chapter Seven: The Social Contract and Jewish-Christian Relations 188

The New Jewish-Christian Situation 188

Political Theology 195

Beyond Liberalism and Conservatism 201

The Question of Trust 205

Jews, Christians, Atheists, and Secularists 212

Chapter Eight: The Jewish Social Contract in Secular Public Policy 218

Jews, Judaism, and Public Policy 218

Criteria for Jewish Public Policy 223

Jewish Suspicions of General Morality 229

The Unavoidability of General Morality 230

The Political Argument for the Social Contract 235

Jewish Self-Interest and Political Alliances 237

Bibliography 239

Index 251

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