Autonomy, Community, and the Jewish Self
IntroductionAuthor Hannah Hashkes and editor Rebecca Levi have generated and gathered a stimulating dialogue on a question of political as well as philosophic urgency in contemporary Jewish religious thought: how is it possible for a contemporary Jew to honor both the modern liberal ideal of personal autonomy and the authority of revealed religious sources or of any of the literatures, practices, and communities that serve them? The question is not only prompted by the contingent fact that some individuals happen to seek the goods of both faith and personal autonomy, but by the fact that many religious Jews happen to live in and contribute to liberal political systems. The author and respondents whose essays are collected in this issue all identify personal autonomy as a necessary attribute of such systems. The question that animates this dialogue therefore speaks directly to the condition of religious life in the modern nation state: must modern Jews compromise their professed commitments either to traditional Jewish belief or to the ideals of modern democracy?
Pragmatism and Picture-Thinking: A Liberal Response to Hannah Hashkes