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In the 1950s historian Arnold Toynbee made the argument that Jews and Judaism did not fit into any definition of nation, race, or religion. We were not a nation because we lived for centuries without a land and our people were scattered throughout the world. We were not a race because we accepted converts. And we were not solely a religion because we counted among our numbers people who do not believe in G-d. But given the Jewish presence in world history for more than 3000 years, he classified us as a "fossil." His comment led to a famous debate with Yaakov Herzog. Did any of the great post-Holocaust sages publish a response as well?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Prof. Eliezer Berkovits wrote a book in response called "Judaism: Fossil or Ferment?." In his recent Erasmus Lecture, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks responded to Toynbee's critique of Judaism (starting at 25 min.)

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Obviously, "the great post-Holocaust sages" mentioned in the question constitute a rather amorphous group. But can you give (in your answer) any indication as to why you consider Professor Berkovits to be among that group? – msh210 Feb 21 '13 at 16:24
@msh210 He is a "rabbi, theologian, and educator in the tradition of Orthodox Judaism' and notable enough to be on Wikipedia. Given his qualifications listed there (talmid and semicha from Seridei Eish and Dor Revii, PhD in Philosophy, pulpit rabbi for 20+ years, director of Jewish Philosophy at Skokie Yeshiva, etc.), I think sage is an apt title. – Double AA Feb 21 '13 at 16:51
@DoubleAA, thanks: I've added a link to the info to the answer. Perhaps you wish to flesh the answer out with more info, wfb. – msh210 Feb 21 '13 at 17:25
See also haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-features/… – wfb Dec 22 '13 at 3:34

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