Obstacles to Theological Humility in Jewish Tradition
This chapter explores how certain vectors of interpretation and thought in Jewish tradition have led to a kind of pious arrogance deeply imbedded in the Jewish self-concept. Jewish theological arrogance is rooted in the central concept of peoplehood, or am yisrael. Three supernatural attributes are assigned to am yisrael: (1) eternality; (2) moral (and perhaps intellectual) superiority and authority; and (3) oneness, including indivisibility. The association of these attributes with Israel lies at the heart of Jewish self-understanding, since corporate identity is fundamental to Judaism's theological structure. The chapter first investigates the sources of these aggrandizing attributions. Second, it explores whether the attribution of these qualities to am yisrael is necessary in order for Judaism to remain coherent. Finally, it excavates resources within the tradition for a more humble understanding of am yisrael.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.