The Orthodox Label

“Words are often born when the phenomenon they name is under threat. The adjective ‘orthodox’ first appears in a Jewish context in France in the early nineteenth century in the course of the debate about Jewish citizenship in the new nation state. For the first time in the modern world the traditional terms of Jewish existence were thrown into question. Alternatives were proposed. Some argued that Judaism must change. Those who disagreed were given the label ‘orthodox’. Only when something is challenged does it need a name. Until then it is taken for granted.”

Future Tense, p. 25