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Language, Gender and Law in the Judaeo-Islamic Milieu

Cambridge Genizah Studies Series Volume 10

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Edited by Zvi Stampfer and Amir Ashur

The articles in this volume focus on the legal, linguistic, historical and literary roles of Jewish women in the Islamic world of the Middle Ages. Drawing heavily on manuscript evidence from the Cairo Genizah, the authors examine the challenges involved in the identification and interpretation of women’s letters from medieval Egypt, the registers of women’s written language, the relations between Jewish women and the Muslim legal system, the conversion of women, visions of women in Hell and gendered readings in the aggadic tradition of Judaism.

Agnon’s Story

A Psychoanalytic Biography of S. Y. Agnon

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Avner Falk

Agnon’s Story is the first complete psychoanalytic biography of the Nobel-Prize-winning Hebrew writer S.Y. Agnon. It investigates the hidden links between his stories and his biography. Agnon was deeply ambivalent about the most important emotional “objects” of his life, in particular his “father-teacher,” his ailing, depressive and symbiotic mother, his emotionally-fragile wife, whom he named after her and his adopted “home-land” of Israel. Yet he maintained an incredible emotional resiliency and ability to “sublimate” his emotional pain into works of art. This biography seeks to investigate the emotional character of his literary canon, his ambivalence to his family and the underlying narcissistic grandiosity of his famous “modesty.”

The Rabbinic Conversion of Judaism

The Unique Perspective of the Bavli on Conversion and the Construction of Jewish Identity

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Moshe Lavee

In this volume, Moshe Lavee offers an account of crucial internal developments in the rabbinic corpus, and shows how the Babylonian Talmud dramatically challenged and extended the rabbinic model of conversion to Judaism. The history of conversion to Judaism has long fascinated Jews along a broad ideological continuum. This book demonstrates the rabbis in Babylonia further reworked former traditions about conversion in ever more stringent direction, shifting the focus of identity demarcation towards genealogy and bodily perspectives. By applying a reading-strategy that emphasizes late Babylonian literary developments, Lavee sheds critical light on a broader discourse regarding the nature and boundaries of Jewish identity.

Holocaust Impiety in Jewish American Literature

Memory, Identity, (Post-)Postmodernism

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Joost Krijnen

The Holocaust is often said to be unrepresentable. Yet since the 1990s, a new generation of Jewish American writers have been returning to this history again and again, insisting on engaging with it in highly playful, comic, and “impious” ways. Focusing on the fiction of Michael Chabon, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss, and Nathan Englander, this book suggests that this literature cannot simply be dismissed as insensitive or improper. It argues that these Jewish American authors engage with the Holocaust in ways that renew and ensure its significance for contemporary generations. These ways, moreover, are intricately connected to efforts of finding new means of expressing Jewish American identity, and of moving beyond the increasingly apparent problems of postmodernism.

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Joost Krijnen

Bovo d’Antona by Elye Bokher. A Yiddish Romance

A Critical Edition with Commentary

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Claudia Rosenzweig

Bovo d'Antona by Elye Bokher (Elyiahu ben Asher haLevi Ashkenazi, 1469-1549) is a chivalry poem written in Yiddish in Padoa, in the year 1507, and printed under the author's supervision in Isny (Germany) in the year 1541. The present book intends to present a critical edition of this poem, together with a commentary. An introduction will focus on various related questions, such as the place of the Bovo d'Antona in European literature and in Italian literature, Bovo d'Antona and the chivalric genre in Old Yiddish literature, the analysis of the manuscript versions in comparison with the printed edition, the relationship with the Italian source and the readership. An appendix will deal with later transformations of the Bovo-Bukh.

"Bovo Bukh is an excellent example of the relationship between romances and folktales,and Rosenzweigʼs introduction and edition of this important early Yiddish text will be appreciated by scholars of early Modern literature and folk narrative." - Dr. David Elton Gay, Indiana University, in: Fabula 59:1-2 (2018)