Volume 75, Issue 3/4
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



For two main reasons, I am not much tempted to articulate a “Jewish modernity” analogous to “a Catholic modernity” as presented by Charles Taylor. First, modernity is “lost”. In the last decades, dreams of a bright secular future of modernity (“later is better”) have collapsed. This affects also the possible role one envisages for non-scientific allegiances and worldviews. It renders this engagement with Taylor seem almost nostalgic or retrospective. Second, I have reservations about many of the concepts Taylor is using. Some of them, like theology and transcendence, are specific to a tradition in ways that must be specified. Others, like religion, the secular and modernity, likewise demand more definite settings. Taylor’s generous Catholicism, extending to the (pre-Christian) past, is a post-Catholicism as it attempts, like various post-Judaisms, to find a new place for Catholicism in a modernity characterized by skepticism and naturalism. Finally, Taylor’s critique of “rights talk” is contrasted to a Jewish notion of mutual obligation.


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