Asking “Is Judaism a Religion?”

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To open Tikvah’s advanced institute “Is Judaism a Religion?” Professor Leora Batnitzky of Princeton University defined her terms. Religion, she explains in this clip, is a modern term. In a pre-modern era, “Judaism” referred to the ways of semi-autonomous Jewish communities and a “Jew” referred to the member of such a community. In the modern era, with the invention of the nation state and individual rights, “Jew” referred to an autonomous individual who was free to privately believe the religion of “Judaism.” What does “religion” mean in this context?

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