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"Jew": A Multidimensional Study of a Key Identity Term
Cynthia Baker, Bates College
Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FB-55043-10
A "Jew" By Any Other Name? (Article)
Title: A "Jew" By Any Other Name?
Author: Cynthia M. Baker
Abstract: Forthcoming in issue 2.2
This essay undertakes to review and assess a range of current theories concerning one particular dimension of the “who/what is a Jew” question as it has arisen among scholars of antiquity: namely, the origins of “Jew(s)” and their relation to the categories “Judaean(s)” and “Judaism.”
Primary URL: http://www.v-r.de/de/Journal-of-Ancient-Judaism/z/500060/
Primary URL Description: Journal website.
Periodical Title: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Publisher: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Author: Cynthia M. Baker
Abstract: Jew. The word possesses an uncanny power to provoke and unsettle. For millennia, Jew has signified the consummate Other, a persistent fly in the ointment of Western civilization’s grand narratives and cultural projects. Only very recently, however, has Jew been reclaimed as a term of self-identification and pride.
With these insights as a point of departure, this book offers a wide-ranging exploration of the key word Jew—a term that lies not only at the heart of Jewish experience, but indeed at the core of Western civilization. Examining scholarly debates about the origins and early meanings of Jew, Cynthia M. Baker interrogates categories like “ethnicity,” “race,” and “religion” that inevitably feature in attempts to define the word. Tracing the term’s evolution, she also illuminates its many contradictions, revealing how Jew has served as a marker of materialism and intellectualism, socialism and capitalism, worldly cosmopolitanism and clannish parochialism, chosen status and accursed stigma.
Baker proceeds to explore the complex challenges that attend the modern appropriation of Jew as a term of self-identification, with forays into Yiddish language and culture, as well as meditations on Jew-as-identity by contemporary public intellectuals. Finally, by tracing the phrase new Jews through a range of contexts—including the early Zionist movement, current debates about Muslim immigration to Europe, and recent sociological studies in the U.S.—the book provides a glimpse of what the word Jew is coming to mean in an era of Internet cultures, genetic sequencing, precarious nationalisms, and proliferating identities.
Primary URL: http://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/jew/9780813563022
Primary URL Description: Rutgers University Press, publisher's website for the book
Secondary URL: http://http://www.worldcat.org/title/jew/oclc/945804281&referer=brief_results
Secondary URL Description: worldcat page to locate library copies
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Type: Single author monograph
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes