Beginning with an epigraph from Nietzsche that calls philologists to the essential but often overlooked task of setting forth philology “as a problem,” the introduction poses the same challenge to Jewish Studies and its practitioners—from its philological and historicist origins in nineteenth-century Germany to its current state in North American colleges and universities. Two animal fictions by Franz Kafka, “Investigations of a Dog” and “A Report to an Academy,” as personalized by two Jewish Americanists in professions of critical faith, jointly set the stage for an exposition of the book’s twofold title. This is followed by a brief history of the field and an initial consideration of its several dilemmas in content as well as form. The chapter concludes with four overarching questions posed to and for JS and a brief outline of the rest of the book.
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