By Ivan Strenski

Ivan Strenski debunks the typical proposal that there's whatever "essentially" Jewish in Durkheim's paintings. looking the Durkheim contained in the actual international of Jews in France instead of the imagined Jewishness inside of Durkheim himself, Strenski adopts a Durkheimian method of realizing Durkheim's idea. In so doing he indicates for the 1st time that Durkheim's sociology (especially his sociology of faith) took shape in terms of the Jewish highbrow lifetime of overdue 19th- and early twentieth-century France.

Strenski starts off each one bankruptcy by way of weighing specific claims (some anti-Semitic, a few no longer) for the Jewishness of Durkheim's paintings. In each one case Strenski overturns the declare whereas displaying that it could possibly still open up a fruitful inquiry into the relation of Durkheim to French Jewry. for instance, Strenski indicates that Durkheim's party of formality had no innately Jewish resource yet derived crucially from paintings on Hinduism via the Jewish Indologist Sylvain Lévi, whose impact on Durkheim and his fans hasn't ever ahead of been acknowledged.

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Work . . ” Liber was not alone in these views; Prague, Archives israelites editor, claimed as early as 1 goo that French Jews had just as much right to concrete group identity as their Christian fellow citizens. ”ggFor Prague at least, such concerns for group identity and social embodiment had practical religious and political roots. In an editorial five years later, Prague reported that both the Catholics and the Protestants were working to build up their communities in reaction to the Law of Separation.

Yet however unlikely the possibility that Durkheimian concreteness and societism sprang from the same Jewish religious and political ground as Liber’s and Prague’s quests for Jewish social concreteness, they might both nonetheless spring in part from a-third-common source. Durkheimian thought is notorious for straddling the boundary between science and ‘religion,’ between the scientific study of society and social reconstruction. I merely note that at the same time that Franco-Jewish intellectuals had elevated the concrete social domain in their appreciation of Judaism, the Durkheimians were doing the same.

But Renouvier did not go far enough in his quest for concreteness. 46The social nature of human life, including moral life, must be given more status, says Hamelin. “Man is-he cannot be other than a social being. . man has always been social [since] the social is n o t . . a mere accessory and efflorescence of individual [but] a milieu and necessary cradle as well. It is a prolonging of the external world on which the individual depends, as he depends on the world in general. 5n Hamelin thus rejects Durkheim’s German program of a science of morals.

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