Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Monotheistic Religions(CISMOR)Doshisha University > Research > Attempts to develop compatible national identities in Jewish thought

Research

Attempts to develop compatible national identities in Jewish thought

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Due to its ongoing conflict with Palestine, Israel bears special importance for research on the resolution of conflict between monotheistic religions. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, our partner in this joint research, is globally recognized as the world’s undisputed leader in Jewish studies, and it has been developing close research ties with CISMOR.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem 

 

Study Meetings

International workshop

“Theocracy” and “Nation” in Jewish Thought: Past and Present

Date: 9:30-17:00 30th Desember, 2013
Located: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Program
Workshop report  “Theocracy” and “Nation” in Jewish Thought: Past and Present

“Theocracy” and “Nation” in Jewish Thought: Past and Present
 

 

International workshop

Interpretations of Traditions: Maimonides, Spinoza, Buber, Levinas and After

 

Date: 10:00-17:00 27th August, 2012
Located: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Program

Workshop report Interpretations of Traditions: Maimonides, Spinoza, Buber, Levinas and After

Interpretations of Traditions: Maimonides, Spinoza, Buber, Levinas and After
Interpretations of Traditions: Maimonides, Spinoza, Buber, Levinas and After

 

 

Research Notes

Researcher: Kotaro Hiraoka (Doctral Student of the Graduate School of Theology, Doshisha University)

Attempts to Develop Compatible National Identities in Jewish Thought

Purpose of the research: This joint research focuses on Martin Buber (1878–1965), one of the most important modern Jewish thinkers, to explore his understanding of compatible national identities by examining the interpretation of the Bible and other Jewish literature by Buber and by analyzing his Between a People and its Land, a commentary on the documents of medieval Jews and modern Jewish people.
 
Method of the research: While many Japanese scholars have conducted research on Buber, they have mostly focused on his philosophy, and few research attempts have been made to shed light on his political thought, including his understanding of the Bible. This joint research aims to explore his understanding of compatible national identities by perusing Buber’s Between a People and its Land, which discusses Jewish traditions, including the Bible and modern Jewish literatures.
 
As of April 2013, the Young Researchers’ Study Group of the Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Monotheistic Religions (CISMOR) has been studying Between a People and its Land jointly with researchers from Kyoto University who specialize in Buber. While the Young Researchers’ Study Group plays a leading role in this joint research in Japan, the researcher to be sent to Israel will study under Professor Zev Harvey and Professor Moshe Halbertal, who are authorities on Jewish thought, and will exchange views with them. This researcher will also discuss the issue of Jewish thought with the faculty of Leo Baeck College, with recognition of the importance of addressing Jewish thought not only within the framework of the state of Israel but also in light of Jewish communities in the diaspora. The eventual goal of this research is to organize an international workshop or other similar venue focusing on this research theme and to publish research results in printed media.
 
Research outline: The description at the beginning of Between a People and its Land indicates that Buber understands the people of Israel and the land of Israel not as existing independently but as being linked in the same framework. In addition, he finds the originality of the philosophy of Zion in the fact that this national philosophy is called by the name of the land, not by the name of the people. It seems that such an understanding indicates the intention of Buber to place some restrictions on the nationalism of the people of Israel. Buber does not allow nationalism to become self-righteous and to have an absolute value, and this thought has certain worth even today. Buber also deeply examines his own Jewish nationality, while, at the same time, referring to Arabs, and this attitude seems to have important implications for nationality. In this sense, Buber may well deserve to be called “a nationalist who calls for restrictions on nationalism.” In the attitude of Buber, nationality is both ethnic and religious. We cannot find the meaning of a state in his understanding of nationality discussed at the beginning of Between a People and its Land.