Esther Benbassa and Jean-Christophe Attias pose a number of controversial questions that challenge prevailing myths and attitudes about Judaism, upsetting conformist discourses and received ideas. What if the Jews were not the “descendants” of the Hebrews? What if the Jewish Book was more the Talmud than the Bible? What if medieval judeophobia could not be identified with modern anti-Semitism? What if orthodoxy was not a return to cultural origins but a new creation? What if Zionism had succeeded precisely thanks to its failures? What if the time had come to stop denying the tensions between Israel and the Diaspora? Between Ashkenazis and Sephardis? Between fundamentalists and liberals? And what if, in particular, the transformation of the memory of the Holocaust into a civil religion was now the main barrier to the universalism that, with exile and the celebration of life, has always been the heart of Jewish experience? This provocative and illuminating dialogue explores the very foundations of Jewish culture, with the spirit of inquiry and freedom of thought the authors believe will invigorate current debates.
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