This study demonstrates that, for all the admitted emphasis on peoplehood in the Jewish religious tradition, there are equally strong individualistic tendencies within Judaism. Dr. Jacobs maintains that in any balanced view of Judaism it must be shown that what the individual does with his life has eternal significance for that same individual, not only for the Jewish people as a whole. Through a careful analysis of the primary texts, Jacobs conducts a thorough survey of some of the most important instances where the individual is discussed in the Jewish religious tradition. In so doing, his aim is not to elevate individualism at the expense of the Jewish community, but rather to show that Judaism pivots centrally neither on the people nor on the individual, but rests, rather, on both; and his contention, finally, is that each needs to be taken equally into account if a balanced opinion of both is to be formed.
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