Judaism in Biological Perspective : Biblical Lore and Judaic Practices book cover
1st Edition

Judaism in Biological Perspective
Biblical Lore and Judaic Practices

ISBN 9781594515644
Published October 30, 2009 by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

Can there be rational examples of the compatibility between natural science and Judaism? This book offers a strikingly novel perspective on traditional and contemporary Judaic practices. For those with some Judaic knowledge, there are biological explanations in these chapters not seen elsewhere. For those well-versed in evolutionary theory, the authors' perspectives suggest new approaches to the scientific study of religion. Topics include the monistic tendency, biblical polygyny, biblical family conflict, circumcision and proselytes, sacrificial-ritualistic mitzvot (obligations), periodic conjugal separation, Judaic traditionalism, male and female reproductive strategies, and the relationship between costly signaling and prestige.

Table of Contents

David Barash, Department of Psychology, University of WashingtonLaura Betzig, The Adaptationist ProgramRick Goldberg, Principal, Binah Yitzrit FoundationMelvin Konner, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, Emory UniversityCraig Palmer, Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri-ColumbiaMichael Satlow, Department of Judaic and Religious Studies, Brown UniversityRichard Sosis, Department of Anthropology, University of ConnecticutLyle Steadman, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State UniversityAmotz Zahavi, Dept. of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University

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“The study of religion from an evolutionary perspective also has the potential to radically alter, and I believe deepen, our understanding of religion. Goldberg’s volume bears witness, as well, to this potential, and as such it is a worthy addition to this blossoming field.”
—Evolutionary Psychology

“In recent years, evolutionary anthropologists and psychologists have begun to develop theories of religion as a central part of humanity’s complex social life. Judaism is an ideal case study for exploration of these theories. It is an ancient tradition that has extended its influence and ethical values into much of the contemporary world, serving as a moral compass to millions of people. Rick Goldberg’s book, Judaism in Biological Perspective, explores in evolutionary terms its survival power and ongoing influence. This book is rich in new insights that should be of interest to those interested in Judaism and evolutionary theory.”
—William Irons, Professor of Anthropology, Northwestern University

“This is a book with a powerful punch. Religious traditionalists have withstood the onslaught of post-Enlightenment critique and emerged as enlightened practitioners of ancient traditions. This book is the first one dealing in depth with specific practices of a specific religion—Judaism from a biological perspective has never been treated as seriously and respectfully as it is in this pioneering venture. It should be widely read as the beginning of an honest paradigm shift in the socio-biological sciences.”
—Norman Adler, University Professor of Psychology, Yeshiva College

“Goldberg has made a philosophically important step forward in assembling and editing this work.”
—Jewish Book News