By Joseph E. David
- Cambridge University Press, 2020
Why are we so concerned with belonging? In what ways does our belonging constitute our identity? Is belonging a universal concept or a culturally dependent value? How does belonging situate and motivate us? Joseph E. David grapples with these questions through a genealogical analysis of ideas and concepts of belonging. His book transports readers to crucial historical moments in which perceptions of belonging have been formed, transformed, or dismantled. The cases presented here focus on the pivotal role played by belonging in kinship, law, and political order, stretching across cultural and religious contexts from eleventh-century Mediterranean religious legal debates to twentieth-century statist liberalism in Western societies. With his thorough inquiry into diverse discourses of belonging, David pushes past the politics of belonging and forces us to acknowledge just how wide-ranging and fluid notions of belonging can be.
‘Not since Charles Taylor have scholars seen such a profound inquiry into the sources of selfhood and the nature of belonging in community. Joseph David draws on a stunning range of ancient and modern, familiar and forgotten figures to probe the depths of human nature and our essential bonds of marriage and family, friendship and faith, property and state. This is interdisciplinary and interreligious scholarship of the highest caliber.’
—– John Witte, Jr. – Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University
‘Joseph David’s book is an immensely erudite and deep exploration of the meaning of belonging and identity. David’s brilliant examination of the belonging and identity in their different layers and in diverse historical settings, is of fundamental importance to the understanding of the complexity of the concept and the vital role it plays in contemporary political and cultural life.’
—- Moshe Halbertal – New York University