Judaism's problematic adjustment to modernity - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • 19.11.10 | 17:23 (IST)

    We have all heard of the great difficulties that the world of Islam has in adjusting to modernity, that it resists it, unfortunately even violently. Judaism has an easier time, since it walked most of the way along the European progressive path. But the adjustment is not complete and the differences are showing, especially in the issue of nationality. Judaism is ancient, it goes back to a time when different nations had their own national god. In time of war, the nations sought help from their own god against the other god. Deuteronomy 32:8 explains: "When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of El". (The standard text has "Israel" instead of El, but some ancient versions has it as translated.) El was the chief Canaanite god, and his 70 sons received from him their inheritance, each getting a nation to "rule over", among them Yhwh who received Israel. Even though in later times Yhwh became a universal god, Israel remained his special, "chosen people". Christianity and Islam do not have this concept, they came about too late, but the Jews still believe in this "primitive" concept. European culture is able to move beyond the concept of a nation state (as the EU is demonstrating), but for the Jews, nationality and religion are still closely related. We all suffer for it, and from other aspects of Jewish religion (as criminal behavior of settlers demonstrate. Incidentally, one explanation of the problems Muslims have with modernity is that their world is imbued with religious ideas and concept. Read "Lost in the sacred" by Dan Diner (Hebrew U.).

    from the article: Israel must choose between Enlightenment and Romanticism
    First published 02:34 19.11.10 | Last updated 02:34 19.11.10
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