The contributions to this book explore various questions concerning religious aspects and references in non-religious language, whether in idioms, place names, economic discourses or political rhetoric, and non-religious (among other) aspects and references in religious language, whether in prayers, sacred texts, rituals and religious treatises. The research presented applies a variety of methods, ranging from discourse analysis to onomastics, from sociolinguistics to metaphor analysis. The data come from languages such as Aramaic, Bosnian, German, English, French, Hebrew, Italian, Catalan, Croatian, Latin, Portuguese, Ladino and Spanish.
Pray What You Mean. Balancing Integrity of Belief and Continuity of Tradition in a Secular Humanistic Jewish Congregation
← 118 | 119 →Zach Gordon & Erica Sosa
This paper analyzes how a Secular Humanistic Jewish congregation balances shared norms of integrity of belief and continuity of tradition through Hebrew language use (cf. Chalom 2009). Secular Humanistic Judaism (SHJ) advances a human-centered, non-th.eistic philosophy, while maintaining a connection to traditional Jewish practices. Our findings indicate that integrity of belief is enacted by creatively rewriting traditional Hebrew language prayers to reflect SHJ ideology, for example, by excluding any mention of G.od and changing the pronoun He to We. Additionally, we show how continuity of tradition is maintained by the use of traditional melodies in song, Hebrew words similar in sound to those used in traditional prayers, and maintaining structures found in biblical Hebrew. In addition to an analysis of the SHJ liturgy, we discuss the concept of intentionality in prayer, both from a traditional Jewish perspective and through Austinian speech-act theory.
Secular Humanistic Judaism was founded as a reaction to other (th.eistic) sects of Judaism. SHJ values secular Jewish culture and history over religion and belief in G.od. SHJ can be described as “a blend between a humanistic philosophy and a cultural and ethnic Jewish identity” (Chalom 2009: 289). Supporters of SHJ maintain that Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, and as such the Jewish people have a right to change, ← 119 | 120 → modernize or eradicate the religion in order to fit the context of their modern lives.
SHJ advances a human centered, non-th.eistic philosophy around Jewishness. According to Rabbi Adam Chalom (n.d...
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