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Political Theology for a Plural Age$
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Michael Jon Kessler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199769285.001.0001

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History and Essence

History and Essence

The Construction of a Modern Jewish Political Theology

(p.62) 3 History and Essence
Political Theology for a Plural Age

Jerome Copulsky

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the attempts of modern liberal Jewish thinkers, responding to intellectual currents in political theory and liberal Protestant theology, and brute political facts, to construct a new political theology for the emerging Jewish bourgeois citizen. This project entailed the articulation of a new Jewish narrative—a “history” of Judaism for contemporary purposes or a “usable past” orchestrated around the theological “idea” of Judaism, detailing how it had emerged, developed, and was preserved, despite the vicissitudes of history, and affirming its contemporary and enduring meaning. Narrating this story requires first a glance at the situation of the Jews in Europe at the beginning of liberalism and at the challenges that the new order posed to Judaism.

Keywords:   Judaism, modern Jewish thinkers, liberalism, political theology, Jewish bourgeois citizens

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