Thinking Globally about Judaism

Harvey E. Goldberg

in The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195137989
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Thinking Globally about Judaism

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  • Religion
  • Interfaith Relations
  • Judaism and Jewish Studies



Judaism is perhaps the most global of religious traditions, having existed in myriad diaspora communities throughout the Middle East, Europe, and eventually the Americas and elsewhere. There are currently some fourteen million Jews around the world: the largest number, almost six million, are in North America; about four and a half million live in Israel; three million in Europe; a half million in Latin America; and the remainder in Asia, Australia, Africa, and elsewhere in the Middle East. A broad view of Jewish life throughout the globe was implicit in the new “science of Judaism” formulated early in the nineteenth century, but the systematic and mature application of sociological thought to the historical study of Judaism around the world emerged only slowly. This article discusses the globalization of Judaism, focusing on the study of Jewish societies throughout the world. It also examines diversity in ancient Judaism as well as multicultural aspects of diaspora Judaism. Some of the major figures in the history of sociology are William Robertson Smith, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber.

Keywords: Judaism; diaspora Judaism; science of Judaism; sociology; globalization; diversity; William Robertson Smith; Emile Durkheim; Max Weber

Article.  4814 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Interfaith Relations ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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