This article traces the political, intellectual, and disciplinary motivations behind the establishment of the field of Jewish political thought, and pursues implications of the field's establishment for the dynamics of Jewish political debate. Jewish political thought is decisively marked by the experience of statelessness. Thus, to establish the possibility of a Jewish political tradition, scholars have had to abandon or relax the received view that sovereignty is the defining horizon for politics. Although the pervasiveness of politics is the field's animating conviction, scholars have yet to mount a sufficiently forceful challenge to sovereignty's conceptual and political priority. This review surveys the reasons why scholars have been reluctant to pursue alternative, diasporic conceptions of the political, focusing on their notions of what constitutes a tradition. The article contends that developing a more ambitious conception of the Jewish political tradition is a prerequisite for encouraging political debate about sovereignty's importance for Jewish political agency.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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