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Jewish Studies as CounterlifeA Report to the Academy$
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Adam Zachary Newton

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823283958

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823283958.001.0001

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Jewish Studies and the Pitchfork

Jewish Studies and the Pitchfork

(p.60) Chapter 2 Jewish Studies and the Pitchfork
Jewish Studies as Counterlife

Adam Zachary Newton

Fordham University Press

Appealing to thinkers not immediately associated with the customary frontiers of JS at a reflexive level allows this chapter to amplify and thicken the inquiry. The intent is to readJewish Studies, to stage its current situation, and to project an imagined future for it. An epigraph from Benjamin’s One-Way Street about productively “losing oneself in a city” is enlisted with a particular audience in mind: practitioners anchored in the archive and the Science of Judaism, for whom the business of JS comes down to method. Disciplinary practice may always seem a far more compelling desideratum for its work than any desire to shift the terms of debate to the matter of community. That ambition is explained in some detail, with particular reference to postmodern philosophy: for it, too, will call for quite a different schooling and, accordingly, a new set of bearings. What may look like calculated destabilization—using the prism of lyric poetry, for example—becomes the power of leaping toward another foundational place—or, Talmudically speaking, standing on one foot. Indeed, that image for learning Torah will be enlisted as one of several heuristic figures in a constellar series that seeks to reimagine Jewish Studies à venir.

Keywords:   Agamben, community, Geoffrey Harpham, Jean-Luc Nancy, pitchfork, professing, Seamus Heaney

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