The notion that societal injustices are systemic has experienced a resurgence in American public discourse. While this development is important, its potential contribution to justice work has been limited by the fact that it has not included a corresponding framework for conceptualizing personal implication in these systemic wrongs. This article offers a Jewish model for doing so by tracing the differences between the two biblical accounts of Josiah’s response to systemic apostasy. According to Kings, the discovery of a lost scroll prompts Josiah to realize his implication in the systemic problem and to take corrective action. According to Chronicles, Josiah is never fully implicated in the problem because he grasps and responds to it independently, before the scroll appears. The article applies this divergence to contemporary white American Jews’ implication in systemic anti-Black racism. This case study suggests that the story in Kings presents a more politically productive Jewish model for assessing and responding to personal implication in systemic wrongs.

You do not currently have access to this content.