Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts - Volume 1, Numbers 3-4 (Fall 5750/1989)
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts

Volume 1, Numbers 3-4 (Fall 5750/1989)

"Jewish Political Studies in the University"

Studying and Teaching Jewish Political Studies in the University - Daniel J. Elazar

Jewish political studies is a neglected but extremely significant dimension of Jewish life that needs to be explored. An understanding of the influence of the Jewish political tradition on Jewish public affairs during the epochs of Jewish national independence and communal self-government can be useful in meeting problems of Jewish public affairs and communal organization. The present exploration of Jewish phenomena from a political science perspective began in the 1950s and has developed significantly in recent decades. That exploration has developed a theoretical framework that looks at the phenomenon of the Jewish polity at any time and in any place. This framework rests upon the assumptions that the Jewish people is a corporate entity by definition, that exploration of the Jewish polity can be undertaken with the tools of political science, and that Jews have continued to function as a polity throughout their history. The field that has emerged from this exploration needs to be incorporated into the teaching of both Jewish studies and political science.

Bible and Pedagogy in the Teaching of Western Civilization - Harvey Shulman

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. Paradoxically, when it comes to Bible and Talmud, these same people will not teach or familiarize themselves with these materials because they reject anonymous, divine, or divinely-inspired authorship. This bias that ignores the greatest text in Western civilization, the product of a rich 3,000-year-old oral/written tradition and civilization.

Political Philosophy and the Jewish Political Tradition: Can They be Integrated? - Harold M. Waller

The maturation of the field of Jewish political studies has produced a substantial literature on several topics, among them Jewish political thought. Yet conventional teaching of political philosophy in Western universities tends to ignore this literature. The questions of why this should be the case and how material from the Jewish political tradition might be integrated into the teaching of political philosophy are addressed. Several themes that appear in the field of political philosophy are discussed with suggestions as to how Jewish political thought might apply to them. These themes include: the ideal polity, the achievement and maintenance of legitimacy, the nature of the political community, the obligations of individual citizens, the rights of citizens, balancing rights and obligations, the basis for political authority, equality, the significance of the state in the political system, the creation of the just society, the exercise of power, and the ethical dimensions of war and peace.

The Study and Teaching of Jewish Political Materials in Courses on Political Philosophy - Morton Frisch

Jewish political philosophy appeared rather late in Judaism, but on its appearance became very much a part of medieval political philosophy. Medieval political philosophy, however, has a questionable status within the field of political philosophy, partly because of its belief that the highest political teaching is contained in revelation or divine law and partly because most medieval texts are seen either as little more than commentaries on Aristotelian texts or as attempts to reconcile philosophy with theology. The reality of revelation was the decisive presupposition of the medieval philosophers, and that is the reason why medieval political philosophy is so rarely studied today and when studied it seems so alien. Medieval political philosophy concerns us because of its emphasis on revelatin as the authoritative disclosure of divine law which claims to give the ultimate direction to the whole of human existence. Therefore revelation cannot be adequately understood if it is approached as a merely religious experience, for it is a part of, or at any rate, intertwined with, conceptions of justice or the right way of life.

Israel's Democracy and Comparative Politics - Benyamin Neuberger

This essay indicates how fruitful the integration of Israeli politics into comparative politics may be both for the study of Israeli politics and for theory-building in comparative politics. Special characteristics of the Israeli polity -- constitutional government without a constitution, the religion-state relationship, the control system of the Arab minority, the political role of the "non-political" army, the consociationalism between Orthodox and secular elites, and the impact of the occupied territories on Israel's democracy -- can be better understood in comparative perspective. In the same way comparative political studies in areas such as the rise and fall of dominant parties, the mode of operation of grand coalitions, the role of the military-industrial complex in a liberal democracy, the problem of "new" minorities, the influence of diasporas, and the constitutional dilemmas involved in constitutional engineering in deeply divided societies could very well benefit from a closer study of the Israeli polity.

Comparative Politics and the Jewish Political Experience - Zvi Gitelman

The study of Jewish political ideas, institutions and behavior has not been incorporated into comparative politics, nor have the concepts and tools of comparative politics been used to illuminate the Jewish political experience. This article attempts to show how the study of the Jewish political heritage, distinguished by longevity, adaptability, and the development of both concepts and institutions worthy of study, could enrich comparative politics. Similarly, using concepts such as national integration, ethnopolitics, political culture, civil-military relations and others may help us understand better the experience of Jews both in the diaspora and in the State of Israel.

The Jewish Dimension in Teaching International Relations - Efraim Inbar

This article gives a positive answer to the question whether there is a Jewish dimension in the study of International Relations. It elaborates on why one should introduce or emphasize the Jewish dimension in International Relations courses. Finally, it makes several practical suggestions about how to do so.

Teaching the Jewish Political Tradition to the Jewish Civil Service - Jonathan S. Woocher

Despite the growing body of literature now available to students, Jewish political studies is still only on the verge of making a major mark in education for Jewish communal service. In order to expand the role of Jewish political studies in both initial graduate training and continuing education for Jewish communal service, we must first develop a rationale for the incorporation of the study of the historical as well as contemporary dimensions of the Jewish political tradition for the communal professional. Appropriate formats and methods for teaching the Jewish political tradition which embody this rationale must then be developed. One approach which suggests positive lines of direction for ongoing work in this area was the course "Community in Jewish Life" which the author taught for several years at the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University.

A Framework and Model for Studying and Teaching the Jewish Political Tradition - Daniel J. Elazar and Stuart A. Cohen

The very existence of a Jewish political tradition has gone virtually unrecognized in our own time, despite the Jewish national revival of the twentieth century. To correct this situation, a widening group of scholars has initiated a systematic effort to recover the several dimensions of the Jewish political tradition, seeking to build a comprehensive and fully integrated program in the teaching of this tradition and its contemporary uses. The subject matter of Jewish political studies falls into three major divisions: Jewish political institutions and behavior, Jewish political thought, and Jewish public affairs, which in turn include numerous subdivisions. The four primary tasks that should occupy scholars in the field include investigation, interpretation, presentation, and policy application. This article focuses on the first two tasks, outlining what has been done and what still needs to be done.