Andrea Dara CooperJan 31, 2023
Gendering Modern Jewish Thought
Indiana University Press 2021
The idea of brotherhood has been an important philosophical concept for understanding community, equality, and justice. In Gendering Modern Jewish Thought (Indiana UP, 2021), Andrea Dara Cooper offers a gendered reading that challenges the key figures of the all-male fraternity of twentieth-century Jewish philosophy to open up to the feminine.
Cooper offers a feminist lens, which when applied to thinkers such as Franz Rosenzweig and Emmanuel Levinas, reveals new ways of illuminating questions of relational ethics, embodiment, politics, and positionality. She shows that patriarchal kinship as models of erotic love, brotherhood, and paternity are not accidental in Jewish philosophy, but serve as norms that have excluded women and non-normative individuals.
Gendering Modern Jewish Thought suggests these fraternal models do real damage and must be brought to account in more broadly humanistic frameworks. For Cooper, a more responsible and ethical reading of Jewish philosophy comes forward when it is opened to the voices of mothers, sisters, and daughters.
Lea Greenberg is an editor, translator, and scholar of German and Jewish studies.