Abstract

In view of both theoretical and practical problems resulting from an almost exclusive focus on the state as a social formation and its laws as valid social norms, this article analyzes the thought of Isaac Breuer (1883–1946) and Mordecai Kaplan (1881–1983). It argues that both, in different ways, decenter the state by constructing accounts of Jewish social formations that neither privatize Judaism as a religious congregation nor politicize it as a state. Correspondingly, each of them develops an account of Jewish norms that neither distorts them by modeling them on state law nor truncates them by interpreting them as religious ritual.

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