By Rodney Stark, Charles Y. Glock
Read Online or Download American Piety: The Nature of Religious Commitment (Patterns of Religious Commitment) PDF
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Extra resources for American Piety: The Nature of Religious Commitment (Patterns of Religious Commitment)
Julius Karp is a complete materialist who accepts that his son Louis steals from him. He believes that money is everything and will even buy Helen. Selling liquor has made him rich, whereas selling food has left Morris in poverty, a reflection of American values. None of these relationships is morally fruitful. A fourth father-son relationship exists between Morris and Frank. Though not related biologically, they nonetheless provide what each needs for his own fulfillment.
The point is that although Morris may define Jewish law as the Torah, the basic principles that he chooses to live by are universal. Most of the laws of the Torah are universal, but there are many which Morris chooses to ignore that are directed particularly to the children of Israel. By thus removing any stress on the particular in order to highlight the universal, Morris eliminates the specialness of the Jewish people in world history and dilutes their specific contribution to human ethics. Universality is stressed again at Morris's funeral, where the rabbi's eulogy proclaims Morris's altruism and downplays the importance of Jewish tradition and adherence to specific Jewish laws, such as synagogue attendance and keeping the dietary requirements.
The "Polisheh" is a reminder of the very real anti-Semitic world of Eastern Europe that Morris fled. Al Marcus, dying of cancer, uncomplainingly fights death and makes the most of what life has dealt him. Breitbart, also accepting the suffering that life has meted out to him, trudges through the neighborhood selling "lights," a symbol of hope. The "Macher" is a highly symbolic figure, diabolic with his red beard and relation to fire. All four characters lean, in varying degrees, toward unreality but remain also part of the real world.
American Piety: The Nature of Religious Commitment (Patterns of Religious Commitment) by Rodney Stark, Charles Y. Glock