Pluralism out of the sources of Judaism: the quest for religious pluralism without relativism

Raphael Jospe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter argues for the legitimacy of Jewish religious pluralism, citing precedents and conceptions that arise indigenously ‘out of sources of Judaism’. As for the Christian challenge of equating pluralism with relativism, it constructs a paradigm of religious pluralism that avoids moral relativism, while at the same time avoiding the kind of extreme epistemological relativism of radical deconstructionism. As for Jewish precedents, there is ample evidence for both internal and external pluralism in the sources. In his comments on Genesis 33:20 and Exodus 6:9, Rashi cites this verse to justify diverse, internal pluralistic interpretations. Rabbi Yishma'el interpreted this verse as alluding to both internal and external pluralism. Such pluralism, even if it entails a degree of moderate epistemic relativism, does not imply a strong relativistic conception of multiple truths, but of multiple perspectives on the truth, or what the rabbis called the ‘seventy facets of the Torah’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJewish theology and world religions
EditorsAlon Goshen-Gottstein, Eugene Korn
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherThe Littman Library of Jewish Civilization – The Liverpool University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781909821057
ISBN (Print) 9781906764098
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameLiverpool scholarship online


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