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In: Modern Critical Theory and Classical Literature
In: Talmudic Transgressions
Author: Simon Goldhill

Abstract: This chapter looks at how Christian and in particular Protestant historians of the 19th century wrote the history of the Jews as a fundamental gesture of comparatism as self-understanding. In the name of objective historiography, Christian historians discovered an image of the Jews to suit their own teleology. In particular, Alexandria, as a place where Jews and Greeks lived in a hybrid cultural environment, was systematically devalued, because of its hybridity, despite the fact that it was the environment in which the Septuagint, the Christian Old Testament, was forged. This chapter shows how religious history turn to comparatism, but how this comparatism is deeply embedded in apologetics.

In: Regimes of Comparatism
Frameworks of Comparison in History, Religion and Anthropology
Historically, all societies have used comparison to analyze cultural difference through the interaction of religion, power, and translation. When comparison is a self-reflective practice, it can be seen as a form of comparatism. Many scholars are concerned in one way or another with the practice and methods of comparison, and the need for a cognitively robust relativism is an integral part of a mature historical self-placement. This volume looks at how different theories and practices of writing and interpretation have developed at different times in different cultures and reconsiders the specificities of modern comparative approaches within a variety of comparative moments. The idea is to reconsider the specificities, the obstacles, and the possibilities of modern comparative approaches in history and anthropology through a variety of earlier and parallel comparative horizons. Particular attention is given to the exceptional role of Athens and Jerusalem in shaping the Western understanding of cultural difference.