Authored by: Eric Michael Mazur

The Routledge Companion to Religion and Popular Culture

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415638661
eBook ISBN: 9781315724478
Adobe ISBN: 9781317531067


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At its core, Judaism is a religion of performance. This is to suggest neither that there is no performative element to other religions nor that there is no interior spiritual aspect to Judaism. But there is a certain irony in the fact that this tradition, perceived as the foundation of Western monotheism—the belief in one God—has since before the destruction of the second Holy Temple in Jerusalem (70 ce) been predicated upon the willingness of its adherents to perform some, most, or all of 613 mitzvot (positive and negative behavioral commandments). 2 Performance has shaped the Jewish experience; periods of persecution have been punctuated by prohibitions on Jewish behaviors, while Jewish survival has often depended on the performance of ritualized or commanded acts.

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