Saturday, May 05, 2007

Magee on Judaism & Jewish Identity

On the subject of Judaism, Zionism, and Jewish identity:
It is not the case that a belief is worthy of respect, or is even interesting merely because it is widely held, though that it is widely held may give on food for thought. Of the religions I studied, the one I found least worthy of intellectual respect was Judaism. ... while reading the foundational Jewish texts I often found my self thinking: "How can anyone possibly believe this?" When I put that question to Jewish friends they often said no intelligent Jew did. ... What they do believe, they tell me, is that it is desirable that traditional observances should be kept by at least some Jews because it is these observances more than anything else that give the Jewish people its identity, and therefore its cohesion ... [emphasis in bold added]
--Bryan Magee in Confessions of a Philosopher
(New York: Modern Library, 1999) p. 347.
Buddhism is the religion Magee finds most admirable.

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