Mission Statement – The Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies
This annual journal is dedicated to analyzing the affinities and interactions between India and Judaic civilizations from ancient through contemporary times. It is an ambitious intellectual undertaking. Not only are the interactions and affinities little explored, but when one views our world from their standpoint, everything looks rather different. For example, our understanding of the concept of ‘religion’ is modified when our cases in point are Hinduism and Judaism. Similarly, the way we view patterns of commerce in the ancient world shifts perceptible when our reference points are India and Israel.
This new journal, then, seeks to develop a new field of inquiry. Not only are our data new, but these data compel us to view familiar patterns of interpretation with a fresh, critical eye. By ‘Indo-Judaic studies’ we mean not only exercises in the history of religion or comparative philosophy, although these two modes of analysis will be well-represented in this and future issues of this journal; but ‘Indo-Judaic studies’ includes literature, sociology, political science, linguistics, anthropology and commerce.
An extended discussion ensued before we agreed on the name of this journal, and for this field. We had considered a linguistically rooted title, reflecting the prominence of Sanskrit and Hebrew in defining the cultures whose interactions we propose to study. We decided that such a title was too classicist to include contemporary political, economic and literary studies. We considered Hindu-Judaic and Hindu-Jewish, the former focusing on the religions and the latter on ethnicity, but felt these were too confining as well, in part because the neglected the very vital Buddhist-Jewish encounters we wish to explore. Eventually we opted for Indo-Judaic, a name which we hope invites analyses of all the cultures of the Indian subcontinent, Buddhist and Parsi as well as Hindu, in their interactions with Jews, Judaism and Israel.
The first issue of our journal, then, introduces but does not exhaust the disciplines, issues and methodologies which will comprise the field the journal seeks to help define. In the future, we will present studies rooted in the discipline of the history of religions, linguistics, and so on. We anticipate essays that explore the image of the Jew in modern Indian novels and of Hinduism in traditional Jewish literature. We remain interested in medieval Jewish travelers to India, as we do in the experiences of Jewish communities on the subcontinent. We welcome submissions which compare the ethnicity of “Indo-Americans” and “Jewish-Americans.” How Hindu revivalists relied upon the ‘Old Testament’ as a rhetorical weapon against Christian missionaries falls under the purview of ‘Indo-Judaic studies,’ too. Studies of diplomacy between India and Israel, of the Jewish contributions to the Indian cinema industry, of commercial links between west and south Asia during ancient times, and of Jews who played significant roles in the government, economy and culture of India, are all appropriate for this journal. This journal is premised on our view that the data embraced by the term “Indo-Judaic” is distinctive or perhaps even unique in important ways. Therefore, we favor theoretically and methodologically self-aware submissions that explicitly reflect on what Indo-Judaic emphases have to offer different disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
Click on links, below, to see Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies issues’ Tables of Contents: