Defining Jewish Identity
Introductory Question 0:
What makes up an identity?
This applies mainly to group identities. In an individualistic society people might define their identity while refusing to belong to any group. They would probably claim to belong solely to themselves.
-(2)Selfdefinition in distinction from others.
Claiming an identity is useless, if everyone and everything carries the same identity. But an interesting twist is the following: One might claim to be part of G-d's creation and take this as a meaningful identity definition. Still, the realisation of it contains a purpose and direction for life, which isn't shared by everyone. The claim to the identity here means to recognize it, while in theory the identity is shared by everyone and everything.
-(3)Finding the purpose of life within the identity:
In order for the belonging to a group to make up ones identity, the purpose of life has to be found within it.
-(4)Accountability regarding the identity and its responsabilities
Belonging: What causes people to take on an identity or identify with a certain community?
-A community leadership which takes care of the needs of the people and allows them to find their meaning and purpose of life within the community. (Example: At the time of the babylonian and palestinian Talmud: people identify more and more with the babylonian community.)
-A common experience which gives a joint, life encompassing task. (Example: Giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai)
Definition: How is identity defined?
-a set of characteristics which have to be fulfilled, such that if one or more aren't fulfilled, the identity is denied for the individual.
-an association of characteristics, of which a majority needs to be fulfilled
-clear opposition and/ or distinction from others. example: "a Jew is defined by the synagoge he doesn't go to..."
Do the borders towards what/ who-I-am-not have to be hard lines, or can they be soft and gradual?
- Soft and gradual: Family association according to Wittgenstein, based on a cluster of individuals with characteristics that are similiar, more similiar than those outside the cluster -> goes into the direction of "belonging".
- Sharp inside-outside criteria, which have to be fulfilled.
Does the answer to the purpose of life have to be the same for all that claim the same identity?
How are the self-expectations as well as the expectations of outsiders in regard to the identity formed?
example: "You are not an animal, are you? Behave as a human being..."
Discussion Forum: Topics
My Collection Of Relevant Links
- Ahavat Elohim Forums
- Forum Messianic Jewish Discussion
- Messianic Judaism Quest
- The Messianic Center
- Sean Emslie: ... toward a messianic judaism
- Kevin Geoffrey has Messianic Jewish Issues
- Derek Leman - Messianic Jewish Musings
- Jews for Jesus Home page
- MBI Messianic Bureau International
- The Jerusalem Council - Messianic Beit Midrash
- Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council
- International Messianic Jewish Alliance
- Wikipedia: Messianic Judaism