Jewish philosophy, like any religious based philosophy, does not begin in wonder, but self-defense. The task of such a defense must, by necessity, be constructed on the wobbly ground of privilege and denial. Upon such a shaky foundation, Jewish philosophy sets itself up as the arbiter of the good, the true, and the beautiful. That which fits and upholds this reading is emphasized, and that which embarrasses or contradicts can be neatly excised. The cost of such an enterprise is the production of a particular type of Judaism, in which we see reflected a particular set of concerns and wills to power that seek to enforce it. To explore this in greater detail, this chapter focuses on the artificiality of the terms and categories bequeathed to us by our nineteenth-century forebears, classifications that are still largely in use today.
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