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The Jewish Social Contract : An Essay in Political Theology - David Novak

The Jewish Social Contract

An Essay in Political Theology

Hardcover Published: 16th October 2005
ISBN: 9780691122106
Number Of Pages: 288

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"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.

Industry Reviews

"In his ambitious new book, The Jewish Social Contract, David Novak restores the nexus between theology and politics implicit in covenantalism and social contract... [The book] provides a rationale for how orthodox religious people might accept the legitimacy of the democratic, delimited secular orders in which they live."--Alan Mittleman, First Things

List of Abbreviationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Formulating the Jewish Social Contractp. 1
The Democratic Contractp. 1
The Political Value of the Social Contractp. 7
A Contract between Minoritiesp. 10
Community and Societyp. 12
Claims for Cultural Autonomyp. 21
The Covenantp. 30
Covenant and Social Contractp. 30
The Noabide Covenantp. 34
Divine Interest in the Covenantp. 36
Interhuman Covenantsp. 40
The Covenant between God and Israelp. 47
Covenants between Jewsp. 53
Covenants between Jews and Gentilesp. 56
Contracts: Social and Privatep. 59
The Covenant Reaffirmedp. 65
Covenantal Necessityp. 65
The Voluntary Covenantp. 70
Covenantal Autonomyp. 77
Some Social Contracts within Judaismp. 81
The Law of the Statep. 91
Political Subordinationp. 91
The Law of the Gentilesp. 100
Palestine and Babyloniap. 103
Samuel's Principlep. 114
Secularity and Secularismp. 120
Kingship and Secularityp. 124
Royal Lawp. 124
Royal Justicep. 132
Ibn Adret's Halakhic Answerp. 142
Gerondi's Theological Answerp. 147
Abravanel's Philosophical Answerp. 150
Modern Secularityp. 157
The Dawn of Modernityp. 157
Baruch Spinoza: Covenant as Social Contractp. 158
Moses Mendelssohn: Judaism as a Religious Denominationp. 164
Religious Pluralism in a Secular Statep. 169
Traditional Judaism Continued in the Secular Statep. 173
Mendelssohn's Problematic Legacy for Judaismp. 178
The Social Contract and Jewish-Christian Relationsp. 188
The New Jewish-Christian Situationp. 188
Political Theologyp. 195
Beyond Liberalism and Conservatismp. 201
The Question of Trustp. 205
Jews, Christians, Atheists, and Secularistsp. 212
The Jewish Social Contract in Secular Public Policyp. 218
Jews, Judaism, and Public Policyp. 218
Criteria for Jewish Public Policyp. 223
Jewish Suspicions of General Moralityp. 229
The Unavoidability of General Moralityp. 230
The Political Argument for the Social Contractp. 235
Jewish Self-Interest and Political Alliancesp. 237
Bibliographyp. 239
Indexp. 251
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691122106
ISBN-10: 0691122105
Series: New Forum Books
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 16th October 2005
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.2  x 2.29
Weight (kg): 0.57