Past Event

Another Modernity: Elia Benamozegh’s Jewish Universalism

September 16, 2020
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Online Event Zoom
Another Modernity is the study of the life and thought of the nineteenth-century rabbi and philosopher Elia Benamozegh of Moroccan descent, a prolific writer and transnational thinker who corresponded widely with prominent religious and intellectual figures in France, the Maghreb, and the Middle East and whose work and legacy needs to be brought out of its relative - but undeserved - obscurity. This idiosyncratic figure, who argued for the universalism of Judaism and for interreligious engagement, came to influence a spectrum of religious thinkers so varied that it includes proponents of the ecumenical Second Vatican Council, American evangelists, and right-wing Zionists in Israel. What Benamozegh proposed was unprecedented: that the Jewish tradition presented a solution to the religious crisis of modernity. According to Benamozegh, the defining features of Judaism were universalism, a capacity to foster interreligious engagement, and the political power and mythical allure of its theosophical tradition, Kabbalah—all of which made the Jewish tradition uniquely equipped to assuage the post-Enlightenment tensions between religion and reason. In this book, Clémence Boulouque presents a wide-ranging and nuanced investigation of Benamozegh's published and unpublished work and his continuing legacy, considering his impact on Christian-Jewish dialogue as well as on far-right Christians and right-wing religious Zionists. Clémence Boulouque, Carl and Bernice Witten Assistant Professor in Jewish and Israel Studies at Columbia University, received her PhD in Jewish Studies and History from New York University in 2014 and took postdoctoral training at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania. Her interests include Jewish thought and mysticism, interreligious encounters, intellectual history and networks with a focus on the modern Mediterranean and Sefardi worlds, as well as the intersection between religion and the arts, and the study of the unconscious. A graduate of the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris, she holds a B.A. in art history and a post M.A. degree in comparative literature, and she was a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University in the master’s program of the School of International Affairs with a concentration on the Middle East. Prior to resuming her studies at NYU. Clémence Boulouque was a literary and movie critic in Paris. She is a published novelist and essayist in her native France. Shaul Magid is Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College and Kogod Senior Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. He is the author most recently of The Bible the Talmud and the New Testament; Elijah Zvi Soloveithik's Commentary to the Gospel, and Piety and Rebellion: Essay on Hasidism, both published in 2019. His forthcoming book Meir Kahane: An American Jewish Radical will be published next year with Princeton University Press. Supported by the Kaye and Radov Families. This event is being hosted by the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies.

Contact Information

Edwin Torres