S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Religious Studies (종교학과) 종교와 문화(Religion and Culture) 종교와 문화(Religion and Culture) 30/31호(2016)
문화 체계로서의 신 유대 집단(New Jewish Group) 종교 연구: 안드라프라데시와 뉴멕시코를 중심으로
A Religious Study on ‘New Jewish Groups’ as a Cultural System : The Cases of Andhra Pradesh and New Mexico
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 종교문제연구소
- 종교와 문화, Vol.30, pp. 131-164
- 신 유대 집단; 근 유대 집단; 유대화 운동 공동체; 클리퍼드 기어츠; 뉴멕시코 크립토 쥬; 베네 에프라임; 불가촉천민; 유대교; 유대인; 종교적 정체성; New Jewish Group; Near-Jewish Group; Judaising/Judaizing Movement Community; Clifford Geertz; Bene Ephraim; The Untouchable; Crypto-Jew; Judaism; Jews; religious identi
- Since the state of Israel was established in 1948, the statuses of Jews and Judaism has changed in affirmative ways. In this climate, some people from various countries, including America, Russia, India, Sudan, Myanmar, etc., came on the scene of Judaism and Jewish culture, claiming they were actually Jews. They are called ‘New Jewish Groups’, ‘Near-Jewish Groups’, or ‘Judaising/Judaizing Movement Communities’ in the academic field. The researches on them are still in the early stages and they are usually considered as marginal subjects in Jewish studies. These New Jewish Groups have a significant difference compared to other diaspora Jewish groups, in that they had been severed the connection to normative Judaism and Jewish culture. They claimed that they had lost/hidden their identity as Jews at a certain point in the history and had to have conformed to local condition, but now they could regain/disclose their true nature. That is, New Jewish Groups were considerably influenced by local culture and environment. So it could be useful to examine their religiosity in the light of the theory of a cultural anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, who interpreted religion as a cultural system. The cases of local Jewish groups in Andhra Pradesh and New Mexico could show the utility of Geertz’s perspective on the interpretation of religiosity and culture on New Jewish Groups. ‘Bene Ephraim’ in Andhra Pradesh is a small Indian Jewish people who believe that they are the children of Ephraim. Their social and economic status as the untouchable, is the key element that made their Judaism particular. They have formed a distinctive culture by reinterpreting their former customs and thoughts as a Hindu traditional class in Jewish ways. ‘New Mexico Crypto-Jews’ are the descendants of Jews in the Iberian peninsula. From 16th century to 19th century, Judaism was condemned as a heresy and Jewish descendants were forced to convert to a Catholic in New Mexico. Among these new converts, there were people who covertly followed ‘Law of Moses’. To avoid accusation of the inquisition, they practiced their Judaism secretly and passed on it as a family tradition. In this process, their Judaism got particular features differentiated from other Jewish groups in America. These religious aspects ‘Bene Ephraim’ and ‘New Mexico Crypto-Jews’ can be interpreted by the concepts of ‘model’, ‘motivation’, ‘mood’, ‘order of existence’, and ‘factuality’ in Geertz’s theory. Furthermore, they now interact with the broader category, Modern Judaism/Jewish culture and facilitate the Jewish studies on various fields, including anthropology, sociology, genetics, and This paper tries to introduce the newly emergence of local Jewish groups, examining their religious characters by Geertz’s theory based on his definition of religion as a cultural system. And leading on from Geertz’s stress on local knowledge and particularity, this paper also tries to consider the relationship between these local Jewish groups and Modern Judaism/Jewish culture, and the possibility of further academic studies.