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Edited by Michelle Hobart

The first English-language survey of medieval and modern Sardinia, this volume offers access to long-awaited European scholarship on a critical missing link in the Mediterranean. Based on new archaeological fieldwork and current research from a variety of academic perspectives— architecture, colonialism, ecclesiastic history, cartography, demography, law, musicology, politics, trade, and urban planning—the authors provide the foundation to incorporate Sardinia into a broader European history. Among other contributions, archaeology adds critical insight into the relationship between Christian, Muslim, and Jewish inhabitants of Sardinia, through examinations of urban and rural settlement patterns. This volume aims to stimulate further analysis of the critical role Sardinia has played as one of the largest and most strategically located islands in the Mediterranean.
Contributors are Laura Biccone, Nathalie Bouloux, Henri Bresc, Marco Cadinu, Roberto Coroneo, Laura Galoppini, Henrike Haug, Michelle Hobart, Rossana Martorelli, Giampaolo Mele, Marco Milanese, Giovanni Murgia, Gian Giacomo Ortu, Daniela Rovina, Olivetta Schena, Cecilia Tasca, Raimondo Turtas, and Corrado Zedda.

Arabic Instruction in Israel

Lessons in Conflict, Cognition and Failure

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Allon Uhlmann

In Arabic Instruction in Israel Allon J. Uhlmann confronts two conundrums, namely the persistently poor level of Arabic proficiency among Jewish Arabic students and teachers, and the traumatic alienation of Arab students by university Arabic grammar instruction.

These are not aberrations but rather direct, albeit unintended, systemic consequences of the field of Arabic instruction, where Jewish students encounter Arabic as a dead, hostile language; Jewish hegemony devalues native Arabic proficiency; and Arab students are locked into a fractured educational trajectory – encountering two alienating and mutually unintelligible grammars of Arabic at school and at university.

By tracing systemic variabilities in cognition and learning Uhlmann exposes hitherto misrecognised dynamics that hinder Arabic instruction in Israel, thereby offering new avenues for possible change.

Rewriting the Ancient World

Greeks, Romans, Jews and Christians in Modern Popular Fiction

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Edited by Lisa Maurice

Rewriting the Ancient World looks at how and why the ancient world, including not only the Greeks and Romans, but also Jews and Christians, has been rewritten in popular fictions of the modern world. The fascination that ancient society holds for later periods in the Western world is as noticeable in popular fiction as it is in other media, for there is a vast body of work either set in, or interacting with, classical models, themes and societies. These works of popular fiction encompass a very wide range of society, and the examination of the interaction between these books and the world of classics provides a fascinating study of both popular culture and example of classical reception.

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Joyce Block Lazarus

Geneviève Straus: a Parisian Life is the first biography in English of Geneviève Straus (1849-1926), a Parisian salon hostess and political activist. Joyce Block Lazarus explores myths surrounding Straus and offers an account of her life and accomplishments. Making use of historical materials, including previously unpublished letters, Lazarus shows that Straus was a female intellectual during an era when women were non-citizens.
Scholars have well documented the Dreyfus Affair (1894-1906), but have overlooked archival documents which spotlight Straus’s role as a political activist in the affair. In Geneviève Straus: a Parisian Life, Lazarus highlights Straus’s thirty-four-year friendship with Marcel Proust and examines her influence on Proust’s novel, In Search of Lost Time, finding echoes of Straus and her family in his masterpiece.

The Way of Lovers: The Oxford Anonymous Commentary on the Song of Songs (Bodleian Library, MS Opp. 625)

An Edition of the Hebrew Text, with English Translation and Introduction

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Sara Japhet and Barry Dov Walfish

This extraordinary commentary by a late twelfth-century anonymous northern French exegete interprets the Song of Songs solely according to its plain meaning as a story of two young lovers and their developing relationship. The exegete pays attention to every detail of the text, offering many enlightening insights into its meaning, all the while expanding upon the “way of lovers” – the ways that young people in love go about their lovemaking. The French background of the exegete is made clear by numerous references to knights, coats of arms, weapons, chivalry, and of course, wine drinking. The edition is accompanied by an English translation and extensive introduction which analyzes the various linguistic, literary, and exegetical features of the text.

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Edited by Josef Meri

This volume assembles multidisciplinary research on the Judaeo-Islamic tradition in medieval and modern contexts. The introduction discusses the nature of this tradition and proposes the more fluid and inclusive designation of “Jewish-Muslim Relations.” Contributions highlight diverse aspects of Jewish-Muslim relations in medieval and modern contexts, including the academic study of Jewish history, the Qur’anic notion of the “upright community” referring to the “People of the Book,” Jews in medieval fatwas, use of Arabic and Hebrew script, Jewish prayer in Christian Europe and the Islamic world, the permissibility of Arabic music in modern Jewish thought, Jewish and Muslim feminist exegesis, modern Sephardic and Morisco identity, popular Tunisian song, Jewish-Muslim relations in cinema and A.S. Yehuda’s study of an 11th-century Jewish mystic.

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Edited by Yosef Kaplan and Dan Michman

In The Religious Cultures of Dutch Jewry an international group of scholars examines aspects of religious belief and practice of pre-emancipation Sephardim and Ashkenazim in Amsterdam, Curaçao and Surinam, ceremonial dimensions, artistic representations of religious life, and religious life after the Shoa. The origins of Dutch Jewry trace back to diverse locations and ancestries: Marranos from Spain and Portugal and Ashkenazi refugees from Germany, Poland and Lithuania. In the new setting and with the passing of time and developments in Dutch society at large, the religious life of Dutch Jews took on new forms. Dutch Jewish society was thus a microcosm of essential changes in Jewish history.

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Barak S. Cohen

In For Out of Babylonia Shall Come Torah and the Word of the Lord from Nehar Peqod, Barak S. Cohen reevaluates the evidence in Tannaitic and Amoraic literature of an independent “Babylonian Mishnah” which originated in the proto-talmudic period. The book focuses on an analysis of the most notable halakhic corpora that have been identified by scholars as originating in the Tannaitic period or at the outset of the amoraic. If indeed such an early corpus did exist, what are its characteristics and what, if any, connection does it have with the parallel Palestinian collections? Was this Babylonian Mishnah created in order to harmonize the Palestinian Mishnah with a corpus of rabbinic teachings already existent in Babylonia?
Was this corpus one of the main contributors to the forced interpretations and resolutions found so frequently in the Bavli?

Israel Celebrates

Jewish Holidays and Civic Culture in Israel

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Hizky Shoham

Israel Celebrates is about the intersection where Israeli inventiveness and Jewish tradition meet: the holidays. It employs the anthropological history of four Jewish holidays as celebrated in Israel in order to track the naturalization of Jewish rituals, myths, and symbols in Israeli culture throughout “the long twentieth century” of Zionism and on to the present, and to demonstrate how a new strand of Judaism developed in Israel from the grassroots. But could this grassroots Israeli culture develop into a shared symbolic space for both Jews and Arabs? By probing the political implications of the minutiae of life, the book argues that this popular culture might come to define Jewish identity in Israel of the 21st century.

Fighting Over the Bible

Jewish Interpretation, Sectarianism and Polemic from Temple to Talmud and Beyond

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Isaac Kalimi

Fighting over the Bible explores the bitter conflicts between main stream Jews and their internal and external opponents, especially between particular Jewish groups such as Pharisees, Sadducees, Qumranites, Samaritans, Rabbanites and Karaites, as well as with Christians and Muslims regarding their interpretations of Jewish Scripture. The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is an important sacred text for all branches of the Abrahamic faiths, but it has more often divided than unified them. This volume explores and exemplifies the roots of these interpretive conflicts and controversies and traces the rich exegetical and theological approaches that grew out of them. Focusing on the Jewish sources from the late Second Temple period through the high Middle-Ages, it illustrates how the study of the Bible filled the vacuum left by the Temple’s destruction, and became the foundation of Jewish life throughout its long conflicted history.