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Edited by Beata Sheyhatovitch and Almog Kasher

From Sībawayhi to ʾAḥmad Ḥasan al-Zayyāt: New Angles on the Arabic Linguistic Tradition, a volume edited by Beata Sheyhatovitch and Almog Kasher, brings together nine articles written by leading scholars of the Arabic linguistic tradition. These articles trace the development of the tradition, from Sībawayhi to modern Arabic language academies. The authors shed light on lesser-known aspects of this tradition, such as little-investigated grammatical structures, and problematic spots of the ʿamal theory and the grammatical terminology. They explore the discipline’s relations with stylistics and logic, the Arab grammarians’ influence on Jewish Bible exegesis, and modern applications of the medieval Arabic grammatical theory. This volume showcases the richness of the medieval Arabic linguistic literature and the diversity of ideas found within it.

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.”

Abraham Ibn Ezra Latinus on Nativities

A Parallel Latin-English Critical Edition of Liber Nativitatum and Liber Abraham Iudei de Nativitatibus. Abraham Ibn Ezra’s Astrological Writings, Volume 6

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Edited by Shlomo Sela

Abraham Ibn Ezra was “reborn” in the Latin West in the last decades of the thirteenth century thanks to a plethora of authored and anonymous Latin translations of his astrological writings. The present volume offers the first critical edition, accompanied by an English translation, a commentary, and an introductory study, of Liber nativitatum (Book of Nativities) and Liber Abraham Iudei de nativitatibus (Book on Nativities by Abraham the Jew), two astrological treatises in Latin that were written by Abraham Ibn Ezra or attributed to him, and whose Hebrew source-text or archetype has not survived. The first is undoubtedly an anonymous Latin translation of the second version of Ibn Ezra’s Sefer ha-moladot (Book of Nativities), whose Hebrew source text is otherwise lost. The second is the most mysterious specimen among the Latin works attributed to Ibn Ezra that have no extant Hebrew counterpart. The present volume shows not only that the Liber Abraham Iudei de nativitatibus underwent a significant metamorphosis over time and was transmitted in four significantly different versions, but also that its date of composition is not that previously accepted by modern scholarship.

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.

Abraham Ibn Ezra’s Introductions to Astrology

A Parallel Hebrew-English Critical Edition of the Book of the Beginning of Wisdom and the Book of the Judgments of the Zodiacal Signs. Abraham Ibn Ezra’s Astrological Writings, Volume 5

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Shlomo Sela

The present volume offers a critical edition of the Hebrew texts, accompanied by English translation and commentary of Reshit Ḥokhmah (Beginning of Wisdom) and Mishpeṭei ha-Mazzalot (Judgments of the Zodiacal Signs) by Abraham Ibn Ezra (ca. 1089–ca. 1161). The first, the summa and by far the longest of his astrological works, the target of the most cross-references from the rest of that corpus and the most influential, enjoyed the widest circulation among Jews in the Middle Ages and after. The second, by contrast, is the most obscure. It is never referred to elsewhere by its author and is the only work for which Ibn Ezra’s authorship must be substantiated. Reshit Ḥokhmah and Mishpeṭei ha-Mazzalot were written in order to explain concepts common to the various branches of astrology that Ibn Ezra addressed elsewhere and to elucidate the worldview that underlies astrology. These two treatises are the richest and most varied with regard to the astrological information they present. Reshit Ḥokhmah and Mishpeṭei ha-Mazzalot also exemplify the close collaboration between astronomy and astrology in medieval science and are the two components of Ibn Ezra’s astrological corpus with the most extensive, comprehensive, and significant astronomical content.

"A critical edition with English translation of Reshit Ḥokhmah was published in 1998 by Epstein. Sela has not only aspired to improve it but also supplied a commentary to render the text more comprehensible. Sela’s mission is successfully accomplished for both treatises. This multifarious book is another important contribution to a deeper understanding of the life and work of one of the most important medieval Jewish polymaths." - Ilana Wartenberg, Universität Bern, in: Journal for the History of Astronomy 50.1 (2019)

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