April 27, 1994
Max Weber provided an important methodological tool for the modern study of the Jewish political tradition: a predominantly socio political analysis of Israelite covenants. Yet in emphasizing a functional analysis of covenanting, Weber problematized covenant as a theological concept. Arriving at an appropriate balance of political and theological elements in the analysis and interpretation of covenant is crucial to any adequate account of the Jewish political tradition. This essay offers an explication of Weber's views, a contemporary critique of them by Julius Guttmann, who was sensitive to the methodological problem, and a challenge to future writing on the Jewish tradition.