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Polish-Language Press, Culture, and Politics
Translator: Scotia Gilroy
In Polish Jews in Israel: Polish-Language Press, Culture, and Politics Elżbieta Kossewska presents a study of the political history of Polish Jews in Israel and their cultural and intellectual achievements, with particular emphasis on the Polish-language press. The book describes Polish immigrants’ adaptation in Israeli society after World War II, and shows the shifting of emigrants’ attitudes and viewpoints against the backdrop of the Israeli political system. The book contains numerous testimonies, memoirs, and personal documents from Polish journalists and writers that have never been published before. These anecdotes, biographical curiosities, and fascinating details create an evocative and colorful picture of the lives of key figures of post-war Polish life in Israel.
Author: Lucia Admiraal

Abstract

The idea of the Jewish contribution to civilization is generally understood as a Western counter-discourse that, often expressed in response to anti-Semitism, aims to change attitudes towards Jews. My examination of the appropriation of this idea by the Egyptian-Jewish writer Alfred Yallouz in the early 1940s proposes that he embedded it in his national and regional politics of Jewish cultural reform. Here, it served the aim of promoting Jewish belonging to Arab society by addressing historical Jewish contributions to Arab culture, and connecting these to Arab-Jewish relations in the present.

In: Zutot
Author: Menahem Kister

Abstract

The present article deals with a strand of ancient Jewish theological notions (in rabbinic literature, Fourth Ezra, and elsewhere) and Pauline ones. In these Jewish passages—sharing similar religious sensitivities and using similar terminology—human works stand vis-à-vis God’s mercy and his benevolence (צדקה). In some passages these categories turn out to be in tension in view of human sinfulness, since no human being can comply with the rigid standards of observing God’s commandments, resulting in the emphasis of divine mercy. Paul’s view, according to which “works (of the law)” and “grace” are mutually exclusive, is a radical intensification of this tension. Paul’s distinct ideas display the inherent dynamics of contemporary Jewish notions and reveal the inner tension within Jewish thought of the late Second Temple period, a tension that continued in Jewish writings (including rabbinic literature) after the Second Temple’s destruction.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Authors: Naama Golan and Shai Gordin

Abstract

This article addresses two cases from the narratives in Daniel in which a similar theological question arises concerning the uncertainty of God’s ability to deliver his servants: (1) The chief officer’s denial of Daniels’ request (Dan 1:10) despite the fact that God granted Daniel grace and compassion from the chief officer, and (2) the speech of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan 3:17–18), in which they entertain the possibility that God will not, or perhaps cannot, save them. Commentators and translators throughout the generations have struggled with these theological problems, and we can identify a clear trend seeking to read the relevant verses in a way that removes the uncertainty, replacing it with certain faith in God’s deliverance.

In this article, we demonstrate how this interpretive trend surprisingly continues even with modern biblical scholars. Based on a literary analysis, we suggest that reading the MT version without altering it to conform with certain theological preconceptions may shed new light on the Daniel narratives, thereby exposing their deep and complex message.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

The collocation נצרת לב in the profile of the strange woman in Proverbs is a well- known exegetical crux (Prov 7:10). Since in Prov 4 guarding one’s heart has a positive meaning, the phrase “guarded of heart” in the portrait of a negative character seems out of place. Traditionally scholars approached this difficulty (1) by emending the MT to נצרת לוט, i.e., picturing the woman covered with a veil; (2) by positing נצר II and reading the phrase as “tumultuous mind”; and (3) by arguing that the root in question may have the unique connotation of “cunning” or “wily” in Prov 7:10. Given the dominant death-related symbolism in the depiction of this anti-heroine, this discussion links the verb “to guard’ in Prov 7 to its usage in Isa 65:4, arguing that the strange woman is thought of as possessing a tomb-chamber for a heart and styled as the ultimate femme fatale.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

This article investigates the different stages in the formation of Ps 45 and will point out their purposes by analyzing the acting characters, their positions, and their relationships. The study will suggest a new understanding of שגל and emphasize the importance of the frame with the opening verses and closing remarks, thus gaining a new approach to understanding Ps 45 as both an expression of royal ideology and of scribal self-confidence.

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Chelcent Fuad

Abstract

This article analyzes the relationship between the pentateuchal tithe laws in Lev 27:30–33; Num 18:21–32, and Deut 14:22–29 from a literary perspective and finds that (1) Lev 27:30–33 is the oldest tithe law in the Pentateuch that may have been the common source of the other pentateuchal tithe laws, (2) the tithe law in Num 18:21–32 may have been literarily dependent upon the tithe law in Deut 14:22–29, (3) the purpose of the legal revision of the pentateuchal tithe laws was to replace rather than to supplement the older legislation, and (4) the tithe law in Lev 27:30–33 may have been a product of the Priestly School, whereas the tithe law in Num 18:21–32 may have stemmed from the Holiness School albeit from a later stratum than H proper (Lev 17–26).

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

This study focuses on the difficult ending of 1 Sam 20:41 in the Masoretic text (MT): וַיִּבְכּוּ אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ עַד דָּוִד הִגְדִּיל, rendered normally as “They wept together; David wept the longer.” Many have pointed out the peculiarity of this phrase, and different emendations were proposed, based mainly on the LXX. The present article suggests an emendation of 1 Sam 20:41, according to which the original text read here עד בור הגדול. The mention of the “Great Cistern” at the end of the previous story in the Book of Samuel (19:22), provides strong support for this suggestion. It is proposed that the mention of the “Great Cistern” in the original text intended to narrow the geographical gaps between the different stories about David and Saul.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

Scholarly discussion concerning rabbinic conceptions of the nature of halakhah—realist vs. nominalist—has for the most part focused on halakhic content and discourse. However, as Schremer has shown, non-halakhic passages may present conceptions that differ from those found in halakhic sources. Following Schremer’s suggested distinction, in this study I examine non-halakhic texts which use various metaphors or linguistic styles to characterize the miṣwot. In the cases I examine, I will demonstrate that the authors could have formulated their content in more than one way, and thus their choice of a particular linguistic style reflects their particular conception of the nature of the miṣwot. My suggestion is that non-halakhic sources that display both modes of thought, realist and nominalist views of Jewish law, offer more accurate reflections of the multifaceted conceptual world of the rabbis than do halakhic texts.

In: European Journal of Jewish Studies