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Pragmatism And Piety: The American Spiritual And Philosophical Roots Of Jewish Renewal

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores a somewhat surprising form of American pragmatism in the contemporary Jewish phenomenon called Jewish Renewal. It discusses that Renewals ostensible roots in the Jewish mystical tradition (especially Hasidism) and the ethos of the American counterculture, including the 1970s by-product known as New Age Religion, to some extent it belies a deep dependence on American metaphysical religion in general and American pragmatism in particular as an intellectual basis for its new religiosity. By extension, the chapter examines that Jewish Renewal comprises a novel and unexamined indigenous form of American spirituality. As a religious movement, Jewish Renewal constitutes more than a fifth denomination of American Judaism (in addition to Orthodoxy, Conservatism, Reform, and Reconstructionism).

Keywords: American spirituality; Jewish Renewal; Orthodoxy



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