Judaism is Not A Messianic Religion (Jacob Neusner)

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Jacob Neusner’s Messiah in Context: Israel’s History and Destiny in Formative Judaism should sheds a lot of critical light on the question of messianism that should be of cutting interest to anyone who works in the fields of modern Jewish thought and continental philosophy. About the rabbinic tradition, this assiduous study belongs on the shelf alongside the essays collected in Gershom Scholem’s classic The Messianic Idea in Judaism as well as those in Essential Paperson Messianic Movements and Personages in Jewish History, edited by Marc Saperstein. Messiah in Context goes hard against the grain of the tradition of modern Jewish thought and continental philosophy that have placed a premium on messianism. Indeed, I don’t know what should bother Jewish thinkers and philosophers more, either the substance of the claim argued in Messiah in Context or the possibility that they have been duped, not by Scholem, but by the messianic…

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