Jewish Theology for a Postmodern Age

BookJewish Theology for a Postmodern Age

Jewish Theology for a Postmodern Age

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization


March 8th, 2019

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In the postmodern, relativist world-view with its refutation of a single, objective, and ultimate truth, it has become difficult if not impossible to argue in favour of one’s own beliefs as preferable to those of others. Miriam Feldmann Kaye’s pioneering study is one of the first English-language books to address Jewish theology from a postmodern perspective, probing the question of how Jewish theology has the potential to survive the postmodern onslaught that some see as heralding the collapse of religion. Basing her arguments on both philosophical and theological scholarship, Feldmann Kaye shows how postmodernism might actually be a resource for rejuvenating religion.

Her response to the conception of theology and postmodernism as competing systems of thought is based on a close critical study of Rav Shagar (Shimon Gershon Rosenberg) and Tamar Ross. Rather than advocating postmodern ideas, she analyses their writings through the lens of the most radical of continental postmodern philosophers and cultural critics in order to offer a compelling theology compatible with that world-view. Whether the reader considers postmodernism to be inherently problematic or merely inconsequential, this study demonstrates why reconsidering these preconceptions is one of the most pressing issues in contemporary Jewish thought.


‘The flourishing of postmodern culture and the development of postmodern philosophy pose important and difficult challenges to Jewish thought, especially in their denial of the existence of a single objective and ultimate truth. The book initiates a multidisciplinary conversation between Jewish thought and Continental philosophy through confronting the outlook of theology with that of postmodernist thought.’
Makor Rishon
'Dr Miriam Feldmann Kaye’s book is an indispensable read for current Jewish theology. She deals with three crucial contemporary issues---community belief, language, and revelation---from a postmodernist perspective. However, you do not have to be a postmodernist (as I am not) to realize the urgent need for this book and to appreciate the brilliance of this defense for the flourishing of Jewish theology.'
Jerome Yehuda Gellman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
'Dr Feldmann Kaye offers a detailed analysis of influential recent trends in Israeli thought associated with postmodernism. It will be an important companion for scholars and intellectuals, whether or not they believe that postmodernist thought advances a worthwhile theory of religious belief and commitment, or even that it provides an accurate diagnosis of our current situation.'
Professor Shalom Carmy, Yeshiva University, New York
'By subjecting Jewish discourse to the newest ideas in Western philosophy Miriam Feldmann Kaye offers a clear and enriching analysis of issues of fundamental concern and offers a constructive way forward.'
Rabbi Professor Naftali Rothenberg, senior research fellow, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
‘Kaye has pulled off a tour de force in bridging philosophical and theological thinking by applying postmodern Western philosophy to Jewish religious discourse. She provides order, connects dots, and discerns patterns to a wide-ranging body of new trends, ideas, and texts associated with postmodernism.’
David B Levy, Association of Jewish Libraries

Author Information

Miriam Feldmann Kaye, a recipient of the Cambridge Theological Studies Prize, holds a BA from Cambridge University, MA from the University of London, and PhD in Jewish History from Haifa University. She is currently a Teaching Fellow at Bar Ilan University. She recently completed a Lady Davis Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and a Truman Research Institute Associate Fellowship both at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In this capacity she has taught courses on postmodern theology in contemporary Jewish thought and on the changing concept of truth in the modern and postmodern age. She has also lectured at British Association for Jewish Studies, Yeshiva University and at the World Congress of Jewish Studies, and been a featured speaker at Limmud UK. Her publications include a chapter in Ronit Irshai and Dov Schwartz (eds.), 'A New Spirit in the Palace of Torah'. She is co-Founding Director of the Israel branch of the Faith and Belief Forum and was recently listed in the ’Top 70 Brits Shaping the Modern State of Israel’ by the Times of Israel.