The publication of this book--the first of four volumes of selectedworks exploring the political thought of the Jews from biblical times tothe modern day--is nothing less than an occasion for celebration. As thepreface indicates, Judaism is founded upon a collective identity, rootedin a covenant with a people and a nation rather than isolated individuals.Even before the foundation of Israel forced Jews to confront the "centralproblems of collective existence," Judaism was bound up with the identityof a people.

This collection of texts--ranging from biblical excerpts, to rabbinicalwritings, to the writings of Jewish philosophers--deals with the problemof authority in Jewish life, the relationship between political and divineauthority, the difficulties of being a minority and exercising rule, andthe question of the relationship of the religious tradition to thepolitical realm. Subsequent volumes will address questions of membership(who is a Jew?), community (what do Jews have in common, and how do theyorder their communal life?), and, finally, politics and history, exploringthe theological and political difficulties of a religion founded uponideas of exile and redemption. Beautifully organized, carefully presented,the series will be immensely useful not only for Jews, but anyoneinterested in the history of ideas and religion.