What Is The Meaning Of “More” Or “Less” Religious?

 

What is the meaning of “more” or “less” religious, or “very” religious? Is religiosity indeed a variable which may assume various quantifiable values and be compared to values of other religiosities, with the possibility of competition between them?

Written By Prof. Gideon Aran

Is it possible that in addition to horizontal differentiation between types of religiosity according to various criteria (e.g. church – sect), there also exists vertical differentiation based on degree? And what happens when within one social group alternative scales of religiosity evolve? What is the purpose of or motive for distinguishing between superior and inferior levels of religiosity? Continue reading

Levels of Religiosity In The Ultra-Orthodox World

 

There is explicit discourse in the Ultra-Orthodox world regarding levels of religiosity (madregot), including informal distinctions between high, low, and intermediate degrees (benoniyyim). One’s level of religiosity is regarded throughout the Ultra-Orthodox community as intertwined with one’s professional-scholarly career.

Written By Prof. Gideon Aran 

Those who excel at studying Jewish texts and take on Torah study as Continue reading

kashrut Certification and Ritual Slaughter

 

Ultra-Orthodox culture embraces elaborate, high-resolution scales of religiosity. A prominent example is the hierarchy among those institutions which issue kashrut certification, particularly when it comes to the certification of ritual slaughter.

Written By Professor Gideon Aran 

First, there exists a fundamental distinction between “regular” Continue reading

Kookism Epilogue – Part 2

 

After the era of the Kookistik followers’ bloc – the prospect of a new “Jewish Underground” movement looms large in the or maybe I should say, underneath the territories – this one might be far more lethal and sophisticated than its predecessor.

Written By Prof. Gideon Aran

Kookism:Lately, we have seen all around Judea and Samaria some signs suggesting the formation of armed underground cells inspired by the doctrine of zealousness and fanaticism. We can assume that the authorities have these as well as other armed and covert Jewish cells under surveillance. These men wish to achieve both intimidation and retaliation. Continue reading

Kookism Epilogue – Part 1

 

It would be safe to say that right from the beginning, the main struggle of the Gush-Emunim movement was focused primarily on the minds of the people and not on the hilltops or the territories they were set to conquer.

Written By Gideon Aran

Prof. Gideon Aran

Prof. Gideon Aran

The Gush-Emunim followers believed that the settlement itself as well as the annexation of the land is simply not enough and so they sought to turn the Religious Judaism into a Kookistik one.

As a matter of fact, they believed that the territorial integrity of the land of Israel is in fact embedded in, or is folded into the Kookisation of the environment. In other words, they believed that the messianic-mystification of the Zionism – as well as the settlement – are one. Continue reading

Ultra Orthodoxy – high degree religiosity

 

Adherents to this extreme group, many of its religious opponents, and, curiously enough, secular Jews as well, see in Ultra-Orthodoxy the embodiment of “high-degree religiosity,” or, “religiosity par excellence.”

Written By Gideon Aran 

The notion of being more religious, or very religious, in the eyes of the Ultra-Orthodox as well as among others, gives the former a unique and authoritative standing.

Most Orthodox Jews–of all types–accept this perception, thereby relegating themselves to a lesser religiosity, a somewhat apologetic view of their own level of observance alongside awe for that of their more religious counterparts, one that relates to the religiosity of the latter as a point of reference for which they yearn and according to which they conduct themselves.

Though criticism of the Ultra-Orthodox on a wide range of issues is not uncommon, their supremacy in the religious realm is indisputable and the admiration they receive from other Jews is undeniable. Even those labeled Modern Jews whose lives are guided by “enlightened” values are ambivalent in their feelings toward the Ultra-Orthodox.

When Modern (neo) Orthodox Jews in Israel, especially those who are regarded as maintaining a “feeble” religiosity, wish to embark on a path toward greater religious observance, they essentially are on a journey to becoming Ultra-Orthodox. This phenomenon is known as hitchazkut (strengthening).

Taken from “On Religiosity and Super-Religiosity: Measures of Radical Religion”, By Prof. Gideon Aran

Gideon Aran : Degrees of Religiosity

 

It is said that some people are religious, some are very religious, and some even more so.  This might sound ridiculous, strange or outrageous to many. Not so for various religious groups, including Orthodox, and particularly Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Written By Gideon Aran 

The Ultra-Orthodox community of Jews in Israel is regarded as representing anything from paragon to radical religiosity. This stands in contradistinction to standard religiosity, which conventional wisdom hold is moderate and civilized, related to the establishment, and mainstream.

 

While a large proportion of Israeli Orthodox is in fact located in the range of “normal” religiosity, only a minority among them are truly emancipated from a charged position towards the Ultra-Orthodox (and the secular). According to idiomatic diagnosis, local Jews are either chazir trefe or meshuge frum.

Translated from Yiddish, they are either abhorred piggish filth eaters (as far as you can go in the violation of kashrut), or, in contrast, crazy punctilious ritualizers. Some mainstream religious Israelis are frustrated by the polar alternatives conceived as abomination and madness. A genuine solid conception of ideal religiosity as a matter of middle way is much less prevalent than could be expected.

Taken from “On Religiosity and Super-Religiosity: Measures of Radical Religion”, By Prof. Gideon Aran

Gideon Aran: The Cult of Dismembered Limbs

 

This text consists of two books organically blended. The first deals with Zaka. It is an analytic description of this unique religious/political phenomenon based on extensive field study. The second is essentially conceptual.

Written By Prof. Gideon Aran 

It discusses suicide terrorism through an alternative theoretical prism and in debate with several hegemonic lines of argument in the vast literature on this hot topic. At the focus of this study is the actual bombing arena. Nonetheless, the book seeks to make research-related comments relevant to the sociology of death and of the body, to the study of Palestinian and Israeli societies, to ritual studies, radical religion, and more. Continue reading

Euronews: Gideon Aran interview about price tag and hate crime in Jerusalem

 

Gideon Aran was interviewing for Euronews about price tag attacks, mostly anti-Arab hate crimes by Jewish radicals and about Jerusalem – one city for three religions.

“The political or religious conflict is imposed upon the national one. And the two of them together obviously are harder to solve and are much more bitter.”

To Watch the full video click Prop. Gideon Aran 

Gideon Aran

Biblical Priests and Zealots

 

Zealotry, I am arguing, is a paradigmatic religious lethal violence. Brutal zealots play a significant role in Jewish canonic history and exegetical heritage.

Written By Prof. Gideon Aran 

The methodic examination of this rich reservoir of authentic materials offers an opportunity to advance our understanding of religious violence, its dynamics and implications. The present article illustrates the scientific potential of the sociological study of sacred texts. At the background of this and related research is the exposure  and rereading of the Jewish religious legacy of violence – often dormant, at other times dominant – alongside a legacy oriented towards peace, moderation and accommodation.

The above two maintain intense dialectical relationship.

While my broader project is to trace the normative, moral and political aspects of zealotry, in this particular paper I am focusing on its cultic aspect, relating it to the issue of collective and bodily boundary management. Furthermore, I draw attention to the homology of the ideal-types of zealotry and priesthood conventionally considered polar opposites in many respects. I usually employ the elaborate corpus of our accumulated knowledge on priesthood as a means to help me solve the riddle of zealotry.

In this article I exploit some insights concerning zealotry to shed light on yet unidentified dimensions of priesthood. Among others, I suggest that priests might be seen as zealots in a golden cage. A positive feedback from Jewish Studies scholars encouraged me to carry-on my Jewish Sociology project.