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Five Types Of Judaism? Reflections On The Inner Logic Of Judaism As Revealed By Niebuhr's Phenomenological Typology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses some of the problems with Niebuhr's conception of Judaism, which reflects and even are sources of his basic definitions of religion and culture, so as to liberate a more fruitful modification and application of his phenomenological typology to Judaism. According to Niebuhr, the basic antithesis of "Christ" and "Culture" was established by Jesus in his confrontation with Jewish culture. For support, Niebuhr quotes the Jewish scholar Joseph Klausner's assertions that while Jesus was a product of Jewish culture and said nothing that cannot be found elsewhere in Jewish writings. The author applies Niebuhr's categories to the tensions between Torah and culture. The five different ways of relating Christ/Torah and culture are understood, according to Niebuhr's schema. A number of times in the above analysis we have found ourselves sliding from one level of "Culture" to another. There are three levels of Culture that is usefully distinguished.

Keywords: Christian; Jewish culture; Joseph Klausner; Judaism; Niebuhr; phenomenological typology; Torah



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