Fundamentals of Jewish Conflict Resolution
Traditional Jewish Perspectives on Resolving Interpersonal Conflicts
Series: Studies in Orthodox Judaism
- ISBN: 9781618118455
- Published By: Academic Studies Press
- Published: March 2018
Religious perspective of conflict resolution is a recently engaged topic in the conflict resolution literature. It is a shift from dominant liberal and secular understanding of attributing religion as a source of conflict and ignoring its teachings for conflict resolution. Many scholars are supporters of the idea that world religions contain many principles that are helpful in the conflict resolution process.
In the introduction to Fundamentals of Jewish Conflict Resolution, Howard Kaminsky writes there is no a systematic study in English on traditional Judaism’s perspective on conflict resolution (xx). With this context in mind, Kaminsky illustrates the fundamentals of traditional Jewish perspectives with regard to interpersonal conflict resolution.
This well-structured book is categorized into five parts and nine chapters. The framework of the book is structured on five categories of components of conflict resolution: 1) fundamental, underlying values; 2) fundamental, underlying theoretical and concepts about conflict, 3) behavioral guidelines and rules of conduct that the disputing parties should follow to resolve their conflict; 4) internal cognitive process the parties should engage in; and 5) an affective component, which deals with constructive expression of emotions. The introductory part provides an outline of field contemporary conflict resolution and conceptual clarification of different fields such as peace studies, alternative dispute resolution, and conflict resolution.
The second part, “foundational values and concepts,” contains two chapters and talks about fundamental and underlying values and concepts such as pursuing peace and refraining from destructive conflict. The second chapter discusses the meanings and general principles of Shalom (peace) and Mahaloket (conflict) in traditional Jewish literature. Kaminsky asserts that there is a sacred obligation in Judaism to promote harmonious relations and to avoid destructive conflict. At the same time, as it is explained in the next chapter, Rabbinic literature sanctions constructive conflict that is for the sake of heaven.
The third part talks about behavioral guidelines and rules for interpersonal conflict resolution. It outlines those commandments which are relevant in the conflict resolution. They are to love one’s neighbor, the prohibition against hatred, the prohibition against physical violence, and prohibition of verbal abuses, including saying of hurtful things, embarrassing and cursing others.
Part four outlines the basic commandments and laws that facilitate interpersonal conflict resolution. The last part of the book discusses the Jewish principles of anger management.
The author provides a summary of every chapter at the end of each and compares the fundamentals of Jewish conflict resolution with those of a modern approach. Since the focus of the book is interpersonal conflict resolution, as the author acknowledges, there is a need of more studies about Jewish perspectives of intergroup and international conflict resolutions. Nevertheless, the fundamental principles which are discussed in this book can enlighten any future work on related topics.
Shameer Modongal is a doctoral candidate in the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.Shameer ModongalDate Of Review:January 22, 2020