chapter  6
Concluding Reflections
WithEhud Benor
Pages 34

The chapter situates the introductory “biography metaphor” in the logical domain of a more technically rigorous “hologram metaphor” and shows how each of the substantive chapters was informed by a robust theory of religion. It consolidates the conclusions of each preceding chapter in a restatement that shows how new insights in the “snapshot” studies emerge from subjecting well-known Judaic phenomena to questions that the theory requires. An unexpected classification emerges in the restatement. The biblical struggle with God’s attitude toward the human propensity for moral judgment stands on one side, along with Maimonides and Buber and his Hasidic sources, which allow moral epistemology to play a central role in Jewish spirituality and in Jewish law. Standing on the other side, along with the rabbinic substitution of moral psychology and legal theory for any presumptive moral epistemology, we find 1) The Zohar’s psychoanalytical account of judicial temperament as the heart of justice; 2) the intellectualist legal positivism of the Mitnagdim; and 3) Levinas’s anti-intellectual phenomenology of responsibility to “the other.” The pattern suggests a fundamental Jewish uneasiness with either side of the typology, an uneasiness that has been manifesting itself in dialectical responses that have become increasingly radical. The chapter emphasizes the richness and complexity of “Judaism” and demonstrates the need to integrate philosophy, history, theology, and science in the study of “religion.”