Is Stanley Fish Jewish?

Yes, Stanley Fish is a Jew.

In the latest Opinionator commentary of the Times, Fish asked, "What's Up With the Jews?" and then went on the list many dramatic news stories of late related to Jewish people.

That's just the point, and the one that Fish does not make. We Jews are a dramatic people.

The Bible tells us that we are dramatic, that God selected us to star in the great drama of human history. And we continue to live up to that assigned role.

Fish cannot bring himself to say just that. He circumlocutes with assertions like this, "...the Jew as a cultural/ historical figure is oversaturated, which means that the meanings that accrue to him (or her, but mostly him) are in excess of any empirical record and accumulate like barnacles without any regard for the law of contradiction. Attitudes, especially negative ones, toward Jews flourish whether there are Jews around or not."

Ah well, he is Stanley Fish, the Times' dramatic opinionator and he is authorized (by the gods of journalism) to say these things.

On 7/27/10 we wrote:
He once was a noted hotshot deconstructionist who caused consternation at Duke University.

On his Times Opinionator blog ("Is Religion Special") Fish summarizes the responses that he received to a recent blog post about religion,
...The entire point of religion — at least of the theistic kind, Christianity, Judaism, Islam — is to affirm a fidelity to an authority and to a set of imperatives that exceed, and sometimes clash with, what is required by the state. The denial of religion’s claim to be special is the denial of religion as an ultimate discourse, and is, in effect, the denial of religion as religion; it becomes just one more point of view....
Fish offers us more than opinions. He reports on court cases and decisions, facts and philosophers. He is quite a learned guy, an American literary theorist, legal scholar and a true public intellectual, worth reading.

1 comment:

Grist said...

Anyone taking what Stanley Fish says seriously should also read Terry Eagleton's review at
I was a student of Fish's during the year he taught Milton studies at the University of Southern California (curiously absent from his biographical article on Wikipedia) and thoroughly enjoyed Eagleton's bracing disaffection.