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Reading Talmudic Sources as Arguments: A New Interpretive Approach elucidates the unique characteristics of Talmudic discourse culture. Approaching Talmudic literature from a linguistic perspective, the book shows the extensive and hidden ways in which later rabbis used early formulations. Applying Quentin Skinners’ interpretive question “What was the author doing in composing the text in this particular way?" to Talmudic literature reveals that Talmudic debate is not only about ideas, concepts and laws but also about the latter's connection to pre-existing formulations. These early traditions, rather than only being accepted or not, are used by later generations to build their own arguments. The book articulates the function of tradition at the time that Rabbinic Judaism was forged.
Die Rettung der Juden von Dolginovo 1942. Übersetzt von Ingrid Damerow
Dieses bewegende Buch ist das Ergebnis einer einzigartigen historischen Spurensuche: Inna Gerasimova beschreibt als präzise Chronistin exemplarisch das Schicksal weißrussischer Jüdinnen und Juden während der nationalsozialistischen Besetzung des Landes. Dafür verwendet sie auch zahlreiche Zeitzeugenberichte, die das damalige Geschehen lebendiger nachvollziehbar machen als Überblickswerke und Statistiken es können.
Der kommunistische Kommissar und Partisan Nikolaj Kiselëv wagte im August 1942 den Versuch, über 200 jüdische Menschen aus dem Dorf Dolginovo mehr als 1.500 Kilometer durch von den Deutschen besetztes Gebiet zu führen – nach Osten, hinter die rettende Frontlinie auf sowjetisch kontrolliertes Gebiet. Für dieses riskante Unterfangen wird er heute in Yad Vashem als ein „Gerechter unter den Völkern“ geehrt.
Was veranlasste Kiselëv zu seinem Entschluss und wie verlief dieser von ihm organsierte „Marsch des Lebens“? Welches Schicksal widerfuhr denen, die sich auf den Weg machten? Wie wurde Kiselëv in der Sowjetunion nach dem Krieg beurteilt und wie sah sein weiteres Leben aus? Inna Gerasimova, langjährige Leiterin des Museums für jüdische Geschichte und Kultur Weißrusslands in Minsk, gibt Antwort auf diese Fragen.
Studies on the Reception of Levi ben Gerson’s Philosophical, Halakhic and Scientific Oeuvre in the 14th through 20th Centuries. Officina Philosophica Hebraica Volume 2
Gersonides’ Afterlife is the first full-scale treatment of the reception of one of the greatest scientific minds of medieval Judaism: Gersonides (1288–1344). An outstanding representative of the Hebrew Jewish culture that then flourished in southern France, Gersonides wrote on mathematics, logic, astronomy, astrology, physical science, metaphysics and theology, and commented on almost the entire bible. His strong-minded attempt to integrate these different areas of study into a unitary system of thought was deeply rooted in the Aristotelian tradition and yet innovative in many respects, and thus elicited diverse and often impassionate reactions. For the first time, the twenty-one papers collected here describe Gersonides’ impact in all fields of his activity and the reactions from his contemporaries up to present-day religious Zionism.
Dans Témoignage et littérature d’après Auschwitz, Fransiska Louwagie offre des études critiques provenant de deux centres de gravité de la littérature de la Shoah et des camps nazis : les œuvres des témoins-survivants et celles des générations suivantes. Le livre explore les œuvres d’écrivains majeurs et parfois moins connus, comme celles de Robert Antelme, André Schwarz-Bart, Piotr Rawicz, Jorge Semprun et Imre Kertész, d’une part, et celles de Georges Perec, Raymond Federman, Gérard Wajcman, Henri Raczymow et Michel Kichka, de l’autre. En consacrant à chaque auteur une étude critique approfondie, Fransiska Louwagie fait pleinement droit à l’individualité des œuvres, tout en dégageant des perspectives transversales sur les questions éthiques et esthétiques qui sous-tendent le témoignage et la littérature d’après Auschwitz.

In Témoignage et littérature d’après Auschwitz, Fransiska Louwagie brings together two key areas of Holocaust literature, offering a rich analysis of both testimony and second generation writing. The book explores the works of major and sometimes lesser-known writers such as Robert Antelme, André Schwarz-Bart, Piotr Rawicz, Jorge Semprun, Imre Kertész, Georges Perec, Raymond Federman, Gérard Wajcman, Henri Raczymow and Michel Kichka. By devoting an in-depth critical study to each of these writers, the book draws out the individual specificity of their works, while also developing broader insights into the ethical and aesthetic questions that underlie acts of witnessing and writing ‘after Auschwitz’.
In The Cave 3 Copper Scroll: A Symbolic Journey, Jesper Høgenhavn presents a reading of the Copper Scroll as a literary text. For more than 60 years, scholars have debated whether or not the treasures recorded here reflect historical realities. This study argues that the dichotomy between “facts” and “fiction” is inadequate for a proper understanding of the Copper Scroll. The document was designed to convey specific images to its readers, thus staying true to the format of an instruction for retrieving hidden treasures. Yet, the evoked landscape is dense with symbolical associations, and the journey through it reflects deliberate narrative patterns. The scroll was written against the background of the social and political turmoil of Jewish Palestine in the 1st century CE, and reflects contemporary concerns and interests.
From Europe and America to the Middle East, North Africa and other non-European Jewish settlement areas, the Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture covers the recent history of the Jewish people from 1750 through the 1950s. Originally published in German as the Enzyklopädie jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur by J.B. Metzler Verlag (Stuttgart/Weimar) in 2011 the work includes approximately 800 entries that present the state of international research and reveal a complex portrait of Jewish life - illuminated by many maps and illustrations. Central themes convey information on topics such as autonomy, exile, emancipation, literature, liturgy, music, and science of Judaism. The encyclopedia provides knowledge in an overall context and offers academics and other interested readers new insights into Jewish history and culture. The work is an outstanding contribution to the understanding of Judaism and modernity.

The first volume of the English edition will appear in 2017 with subsequent volumes following in due course. The volumes may be purchased individually as they appear or as a set once all 7 are available. Both the German and the English editions will also be available online.
The Dialectics of Jewish History in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Studies in Honor of Professor Israel Bartal
Editors: Paweł Maciejko and Scott Ury
This collection explores the different ways that intellectuals, scholars and institutions have sought to make history Jewish. While practitioners of Jewish history often assume that “the Jews” are a well-defined ethno-national unit with a distinct, continuous history, this volume questions assumptions that underlie and ultimately help construct Jewish history. Starting with a number of articles on the Jews of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Poland and Hungary, continuing with several studies of Jewish encounters with the advent of nationalism and antisemitism, and concluding with a set of essays on Jewish history and politics in twentieth-century eastern Europe, pre-state Palestine and North America, the volume discusses the different methodological, research and narrative strategies involved in transforming past events into part of the larger canon of Jewish history.

Abstract

The historiography of medieval Jewish pietism has duly described the development of new forms of pietistic ethics in Judeo-Arabic, as well as the large corpus of Hebrew pietistic and penitential literature by the Rhineland pietists. However, scholars have long clung to the consensus that the contemporaneous appearance of Kabbalah did not give rise to a characteristic mode of penitential pietism of its own. These conclusions reflect the assumption that Kabbalah, in the first three hundred years of its development, never brought forth its own distinctive brand of penitential pietism. Evidence from Moses de León’s writings, in fact, points to the opposite conclusion, namely that, already in thirteenth-century Castile, kabbalists sought to develop a mode of supererogatory living in accord with their esoteric speculations. This article shows how de León attempted to construct different penitential programs based upon his Kabbalah, and that he envisioned at least three such programs.

In: European Journal of Jewish Studies
In: IMAGES
Author: Marius Rotar

Abstract

The founding of the Romanian Free Thinkers Association (1909) prompted violent criticism against it. This arose out of a milieu influenced by the Romanian Orthodox Church targeting the Association’s anti-religious attitude. One of the allegations formulated against it was that the freethinking movement was only one facet of the wider Jewish universal conspiracy. This article aims to analyse to what extent there was a connection between the freethinking movement in Romania and the Jewish question. The main argument set forward in this article is that the Romanian freethinkers struggled to dismantle these accusations, while attempting to act towards Jewish emancipation in Romania as part of their wider program to transform society.

In: European Journal of Jewish Studies