Publications by Harvey Shulman
The central puzzle of Israeli politics is how democracy has been maintained at all, given the lack of democracy in countries of origin, the deep internal divisions, and the
permanent state of war. At least part of the answer lies in understanding Jewish political traditions. The Zionist movement was, in large degree, a revolt against Jewish history. But inevitably Zionists were influenced by an extensive Jewish experience of self-government in the East European shtetl. This experience involved political institutions that were voluntary, inclusive, pluralistic, and contentious. It was also a closed system, facing a hostile external world and not equipped to deal with non-Jews as a group.
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The Bible is infrequently taught in Western civilization courses in North American universities. The overwhelming number of university students are biblically illiterate and, in most instances, their teachers seem not to be better informed than those whom they are instructing. Attempts to introduce the Bible and other Judaic material in general Western civilization programs will engender opposition from many university faculty including Jewish academics who have chosen to reject what they often see as the confining world of a distinctive Jewish framework. There is also an uncritical appropriation of traditional Christian notions of the “Old Testament.” Academics have little trouble
teaching the Iliad and the Odyssey, texts that represent oral and written traditions that have evolved and have been rewritten over a period of hundreds of years.
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