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Jews and the Ends of Theory$
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Shai Ginsburg, Martin Land, and Jonathan Boyarin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823282005

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823282005.001.0001

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Against the “Attack on Linking”: Rearticulating the “Jewish Intellectual” for Today

Against the “Attack on Linking”: Rearticulating the “Jewish Intellectual” for Today

(p.263) Chapter 10 Against the “Attack on Linking”: Rearticulating the “Jewish Intellectual” for Today
Jews and the Ends of Theory

Martin Land

Fordham University Press

This chapter begins by tracing the assertions that link the predominance of Jews in critical discourses to Jewish marginality to a 1919 essay by Thorstein Veblen. Veblen does not argue that creativity and innovation thrive on the margins but, rather, that marginal groups like the Jews are better able than their European contemporaries to hold to a position of detachment and alienation from tradition and received wisdom, transforming their marginality into a critical perspective from which they are able to question, as it were, both themselves and the European social and economic systems. Recent critics of Veblen have pointed at his blindness toward the cultural and economic characteristics of Jewish communal life. In their critique, however, they take the disproportionate success of American Jews as their prime measure, supplanting Veblen's intellectual value with monetary value. From this perspective, Jews are no longer marginal but, on the contrary, central to the ever-expanding social order of capital.

Keywords:   Jews, Jewish marginality, Thorstein Veblen, marginality, Jewish communal life, American Jews, Jewish intellectual, critical discourses

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