Jew

Jew

by Cynthia M. Baker

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview


Jew.  The word possesses an uncanny power to provoke and unsettle. For millennia, Jew has signified the consummate Other, a persistent fly in the ointment of Western civilization’s grand narratives and cultural projects. Only very recently, however, has Jew been reclaimed as a term of self-identification and pride.  
 
With these insights as a point of departure, this book offers a wide-ranging exploration of the key word Jew—a term that lies not only at the heart of Jewish experience, but indeed at the core of Western civilization. Examining scholarly debates about the origins and early meanings of Jew, Cynthia M. Baker interrogates categories like “ethnicity,” “race,” and “religion” that inevitably feature in attempts to define the word. Tracing the term’s evolution, she also illuminates its many contradictions, revealing how Jew has served as a marker of materialism and intellectualism, socialism and capitalism, worldly cosmopolitanism and clannish parochialism, chosen status, and accursed stigma.
 
Baker proceeds to explore the complex challenges that attend the modern appropriation of Jew as a term of self-identification, with forays into Yiddish language and culture, as well as meditations on Jew-as-identity by contemporary public intellectuals. Finally, by tracing the phrase new Jews through a range of contexts—including the early Zionist movement, current debates about Muslim immigration to Europe, and recent sociological studies in the United States—the book provides a glimpse of what the word Jew is coming to mean in an era of Internet cultures, genetic sequencing, precarious nationalisms, and proliferating identities.
 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813563022
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 01/13/2017
Series: Key Words in Jewish Studies Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author


CYNTHIA M. BAKER is a professor and the chair of religious studies at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. She is the author of Rebuilding the House of Israel: Architectures of Gender in Jewish Antiquity

Table of Contents


Foreword by the Series Editors
 
Acknowledgments
 
A Note on Orthography

 
Introduction
 
Owning the Word
 
Jews, Jew, the Jews, the Jew, Jewish, Jewess
 
Outline of This Book

 
1 Terms of Debate
 
First Jews
 
A Jew Outward or a Jew Inward?
 
Jews, Women, Slaves
 
From Ethnos to Ethnicity/Race and Religion

 
2 State of the (Jew[ish]) Question
 
Vos Macht a Yid?
 
Jew in Jewish Studies
 
Thinking (with) Jew(s)

 
3 In a New Key: New Jews
 
Zionism’s New Jew and the Birth of the Genomic Jew
 
New Jews in a New Europe
 
New Jews: A View from the New World

 
Notes
Index
 

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