I shall argue that the only rational basis of selection is a judgement as to what is central and what is marginal within Judaism, and I shall propose ways in which this distinction can be made in an academic context. I will suggest that this analysis has implications for how the discipline of Jewish Studies should be configured within the academy. But I shall go further. I shall argue that this distinction between core and periphery entails the identification of a normative tradition, which is an essential analytical tool in understanding the character of modern varieties of Judaism, illustrating this point with a discussion of the Jewish identity of the Beta Israel (the Falashas), of the Black Hebrews, and of Messianic Jews. Most controversially I shall explore the possible implications that this academic analysis has for the faith community, and for the claims to authenticity made by various contemporary forms of Judaism.
Vestido con túnica blanca y turbante rojo, Abd Almuin Sadaqa, jefe máximo de los samaritanos, se lamenta recostado en un sillón de su casa en el monte Gerizim. “Nuestro único problema es que no tenemos suficientes mujeres”.