Professor Rachel McDermott Publishes a New Book

A Hindu-Jewish Conversation: Root Traditions in Dialogue is a historical, theological, and phenomenological engagement of the Hindu and Jewish traditions, two “root” traditions that give rise to other—in some ways very different—types of religious traditions. Rachel Fell McDermott and Daniel F. Polish explore conceptions of the divine, which are frequently cited as the most serious obstacle to a serious theological engagement between the two traditions; differences in attitude towards heroes, saints, and holy people; the religious resources and challenges experienced by Hindu and Jewish women; what can be learned about Hindu and Jewish spiritual outpouring by comparing Hindu devotional poetry and the Book of Psalms; the ways in which the two traditions address the fraught question of theodicy, or why bad things happen to good people; the status of “the land” and nationalist claims on it; and the uncomfortable question of caste and its possible social parallels in the Jewish tradition. The authors weave considerations of these topics into an ongoing conversation that offers students of both traditions new ways of thinking both about their intersections and about the history of religion in general. A coda explores these same issues by recounting an actual series of discussions convened between Hindu and Jewish practitioners.

A Hindu-Jewish Conversation: Root Traditions in Dialogue
(Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2024)

March 28, 2024