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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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Bildungsheld or Pícaro, Canon and List: A Heterotopology for JS

Bildungsheld or Pícaro, Canon and List: A Heterotopology for JS

(p.127) Chapter 4 Bildungsheld or Pícaro, Canon and List: A Heterotopology for JS
Jewish Studies as Counterlife

Adam Zachary Newton

Fordham University Press

This chapter foregrounds an extra-disciplinary structure for “Jewish Studies” outside the bounds of the University proper. British rabbinics professor Philip Alexander’s mordant observation about JS is especially pertinent here: “Jewish Studies has emerged as an autonomous field that is strictly speaking neither secular nor religious, but academic.” The chapter turns, therefore, to the precedent of Franz Rosenzweig’s Freies Jüdisches Lehrhaus Frankfurt, whose short heyday in the 1920s has bequeathed a model for extra-academic Jewish education, subsequently refashioned by others. What would JS look like if it weren’t tied to the institutional vicissitudes of academicized knowledge practices, if the reproduction of the academic system and social field, the magister-discipulusrelation, were not its determinative economy? Is, or can Jewish Studies be, a kind of heterotopia within the university’s borders? What would it mean for JS—as Rosenzweig envisioned for his students in Lehrhaus—to bring the outside in? As counter-example to Neusner’s essays in chapter 3, Rosenzweig’s essays determine this chapter’s focus. Implications of the chapter’s title, with its tension between hero and adventurer and closed or open catalogue, are taken up in the concluding pages.

Keywords:   Bildung, Foucault, Heidegger, heterotopia, Lehrhaus, Rosenzweig, Wissenschaft

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