When Great Scholars Disagree

Alan Sica

Abstract


When Weber analyzed Judaism as part of his series concerning global religious practices and the economic arrangements that accompanied them, he decided to employ the term “pariah” as an analytic device, but without any of the pejorative connotations which are attached to the word today. Had he used instead Gastvolk (guest people) throughout his book rather than “pariah-people,” many subsequent scholars would not have objected to Ancient Judaism in the way they have over the last 90 years. Arnaldo Momigliano, probably the greatest classical historian of the mid-20th century, respected Weber’s work, but also took exception to his use of “pariah” regarding Judaism. This article investigates this troubling term and the scholarship that it inspired.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/SMP-14494



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