Chapter

A Balanced Identity

Nathan Katz

in Who Are the Jews of India?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780520213234
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920729 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520213234.003.0002
A Balanced Identity

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This chapter presents the most recent, most “standard,” of the community's stories and compares it with the stories of Kerala's Christians, Muslims, and Hindus. It also explores the deep background of the artifacts of history. The relevant ancient connections between India and West Asia as revealed through archaeology and assorted texts are discussed. It then addresses how Cochin's Jews organized these artifacts. Striking similarities among the three Abrahamic religious communities in Kerala elucidate the unique and salient features of Kerala civilization. The Cochin Jews evolved a pattern of social organization that reflected Indian caste values. The caste system is the basis for the well-known “Hindu tolerance.” The Cochin Jews offer a particularly fine example of how a small religio-ethnic community can locate itself within a larger society. They obtained continuity through their own learning and creative adaptability, and through the tolerant embrace of their neighbors.

Keywords: Cochin Jews; Christians; Muslims; Hindus; Kerala civilization; caste system; archaeology

Chapter.  30079 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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