J. Z. Smith, Comparison and Jewish Theology

Imagining Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion - Barbara Krawcowicz

Barbara Krawcowicz [+-]
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Barbara Krawcowicz is a post-doctoral fellow in Judaic Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Her work focuses on modern and contemporary Jewish thought and on theory and methods in the study of religion. In her recently completed book, History, Metahistory, and Evil: Jewish Responses to the Holocaust (forthcoming from Academic Studies Press), Krawcowicz explores Jewish theological interpretations of the Holocaust and argues for the applicability of J. Z. Smith’s understanding of comparative studies to the study of theology.


In his bio-bibliographical essay, J.Z. Smith wrote that he was fond of the expression “when the chips are down” in the sense of all being said and done. With his passing in December 2017, the phrase has gained an additional layer of sad finality - the chips are really down. Scholarship is not poker, however, which means that these chips not only can but in fact should be picked up and circulated. Imagining Smith brings together the contributions of scholars who do exactly that by considering theoretical and methodological issues central to J. Z. Smith’s oeuvre in the context of their own research. Through analyses of Smith’s own work as well as applications of his concerns to new situations, historic periods, and regions, the contributors test the adequacy and applicability of Smith’s ideas and thus provide an indirect assessment of his influence and legacy in the field of Religious Studies.

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Krawcowicz, Barbara. J. Z. Smith, Comparison and Jewish Theology. Imagining Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2021. ISBN 9781781799840. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=39934. Date accessed: 08 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39934. Oct 2021

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