The Nature of Jewish Studies

Martin Goodman

in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780199280322
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

The Nature of Jewish Studies


The recognition of Jewish studies as an area of knowledge worthy of research and teaching in universities is a quite recent phenomenon. From an exceedingly small base in the first half of the twentieth century, the subject has now burgeoned. The great centres for research and teaching reflect the main contemporary centres of the Jewish population, Israel and North America, but Jewish studies are also now taught in other countries where Jews live in large numbers. This explosion of interest, particularly since the 1960s, has led to a massive increase in the number of scholars for whom research in Jewish studies forms a significant part of their academic careers. The discoveries and assertions of scholars about aspects of Jewish culture and the Jewish past are as influential in moulding the Jewish self-consciousness of secular diaspora Jews as the writings of Zionist academics have been in the creation of Israeli identity.

Keywords: Jewish studies; Judaism; North America; Israel; Zionist academics

Article.  6327 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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