A Jewish Public Theology draws from Halakhah, Jewish law, to address some of the most searing current policy issues. Abraham Unger examines how Jewish tradition speaks to globalization and its attendant political and economic cleavages. Classical Jewish thought sits on a perch outside of the defining parameters of the global political conversation and as such cannot be pigeon holed as populist, leftist, or rightist. Judaism was born in antiquity and therefore predates by millennia these current ideological biases. That intellectual distance, both due to the long arc of Jewish history, and outsider minority status as a tradition, allows for a critical distance. Unger explores how the Jewish tradition compels the living out of a public policy framework through the forging of equitable communities using arguments that go beyond political orthodoxies. In this socially fragile era, the possibility of that message offers a hopeful discourse of significant possibility for all humankind.
Abraham Unger is associate professor and director of urban programs in the Department of Government and Politics at Wagner College and senior research fellow at the Carey Institute of Government Reform.
Chapter 1: Is there a Jewish Public Theology?
Chapter 2: A Theology of Stewardship: Tikkun Olam and the Rabbinic Canon
Chapter 3: Covenantal Values and the Post-Global State
Chapter 4: Judaism, Democracy, and the City
Chapter 5: Halakhah and a Global Politics of Cooperation
In this book, Abraham Unger explicates how core values and concepts from Jewish law and tradition can help address the ethical, political, and human crises wreaked by globalization. There are few examples of Jewish public theology, which makes this book a bold and important undertaking.
A Jewish Public Theology is an outstanding example of the potential of religious wisdom to engage the contemporary state in a productive manner. . . I write this somewhat jealously, as a Christian ecological theologian who desires a better grasp of precisely what Unger excels at—integrating the wisdom of a faith tradition with the actual legislative and policy structures that determine the shape of contemporary life. There is room in Unger’s vision for personal virtue and its role in responsible citizenship in the contemporary world. These insights come from the position of one deeply knowledgeable of Judaism who simultaneously is grounded in the nuts and bolts of the policies and legislation that drive urban landscapes.