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Volume Editors: Samuel Adams, Greg Goering, and Matthew J. Goff
In Sirach and Its Contexts an international cohort of experts on the book of Sirach locate this second-century BCE Jewish wisdom text in its various contexts: literary, historical, philosophical, textual, cultural, and political. First compiled by a Jewish sage around 185 BCE, this instruction enjoyed a vibrant ongoing reception history through the middle ages up to the present, resulting in a multiform textual tradition as it has been written, rewritten, transmitted, and studied. Sirach was not composed as a book in the modern sense but rather as an ongoing stream of tradition. Heretofore studied largely in confessional settings as part of the Deuterocanonical literature, this volume brings together essays that take a broadly humanistic approach, in order to understand what an ancient wisdom text can teach us about the pursuit of wisdom and human flourishing.
Divinatory Practices Among Jews Between Qumran and the Modern Period
In Unveiling the Hidden—Anticipating the Future: Divinatory Practices Among Jews Between Qumran and the Modern Period, Josefina Rodríguez-Arribas and Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum collect ten studies based on primary sources ranging from Qumran to the modern period and covering Europe and the Mediterranean basin. The studies show Jews practising divination (astrology, bibliomancy, physiognomy, dream requests, astral magic, etc.) and implementing the study and practice of the prognostic arts in ways that allowed Jews to make them "Jewish," by avoiding any conflict with Jewish law or halakhah. These studies focus on the Jewish components of this divination, providing specific firsthand details about the practices and their practitioners within their cultural and intellectual contexts—as well as their fears, wishes, and anxieties—using ancient scrolls and medieval manuscripts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Judaeo-Arabic.
Contributors include Michael D. Swartz, Helen R. Jacobus, Alessia Bellusci, Blanca Villuendas Sabaté, Shraga Bar-On, Josefina Rodríguez-Arribas Josefina Rodríguez-Arribas and Amos Geula, Dov Schwartz, Joseph Ziegler, and Charles Burnett.
Volume Editors: Olaf Terpitz and Marianne Windsperger
In the past years, reflections on Jewish literatures and theoretical and methodological approaches discussed in Comparative Literature have converged. Places and Forms of Encounter in Jewish Literatures. Transfer, Mediality and Situativity brings together close readings and contextualizations of Jewish literatures with theories discussed in Comparative and World Literature Studies. The contributions are arranged in five chapters capturing central processes, actors and dynamics in the making of literatures, namely Literary Agents, Literary Figures, Writing Voids, Making of Literatures and Perceiving and Creating Languages. The volume seeks to illuminate the interrelations between literary systems, and to highlight Jewish literatures as a prism for encounters on the levels of text, discourse and culture, and their transformative force.
Ce volume comporte un dossier sur la thématique du rire dans À la recherche du temps perdu. Toutes sortes de procédés rhétoriques, de multiples collusions avec le destinataire, un discours nourri de plaisir et d’intentions caustiques, donnent à cette dimension une place de première importance. Ironie raffinée qui subtilise les perspectives, satire mordante ou subreptice, burlesque caricatural et grotesque scabreux, humour bonhomme ou raillerie polissonne, moquerie ou sarcasme, toutes les nuances du rire, du plus léger au gros calibre, se rencontrent tout au long de l’apprentissage de ‘Marcel’.

This volume includes a major section on the theme of laughter in the Recherche. Various rhetorical processes, many collusions with the recipient, a discourse nourished with pleasure and caustic intentions, make that this dimension plays a prominent role. Sophisticated irony that subtilises the perspectives, harsh or subreptitious satire, caricatural burlesque and scabrous grotesque, good humour or rascally moquerie, sarcasm or derision, we encounter all kinds and variants of laughter, from the most gentle to its extremely furious manifestations, throughout the apprenticeship of ‘Marcel’.

Avec des contributions de/contributors: Paul Aron; Dominique Defer; Nell de Hullu-van Doeselaar; Karen Haddad; Sjef Houppermans; Didier Hurson; Mathieu Jung; Bérengère Moricheau-Airaud; Anne-Aël Ropars; Thanh-Vân Ton That; Manet van Montfrans; Ruud Verwaal; Philippe Willemart.
The Judeo-Persian Rendition of the Buddha Biographies
The Prince and the Sufi is the literary composition of the seventeenth-century Judeo-Persian poet Elisha ben Shmūel. In The Prince and the Sufi: The Judeo-Persian Rendition of the Buddha Biographies, Dalia Yasharpour provides a thorough analysis of this popular work to show how the Buddha's life story has undergone substantial transformation with the use of Jewish, Judeo-Persian and Persian-Islamic sources. The annotated edition of the text and the corresponding English translation are meticulous and insightful. This scholarly study makes available to readers an important branch in the genealogical tree of the Buddha Biographies.
Author: Thomas Mikula

Abstract

This chapter engages with Osip Dymov’s narrative strategies of interlocking Russian and Yiddish cultures. In Dymov’s autobiography Vos ikh gedenk (Zikhroynes), which first appeared in the journal forverts in 1941–1942, this encounter shows first of all in the entanglement of language use and thematic focus: the memoirs were written in Yiddish for a Yiddish-speaking audience, but they deal primarily with Russian culture. The narrator strongly idealizes Russian literature and puts it into a Jewish context by describing it as the most important model and motivation for his own actions. Crucial turns in the narrator’s life are associated with Russian literature. Through a skillful contextualization of singular narrated events even Fyodor Dostoyevsky appears in a philo-Semitic light.

In: Places and Forms of Encounter in Jewish Literatures
Author: Aneta Stępień

Abstract

This chapter examines the modernist influences on Isaac Bashevis Singer’s literary strategies and his views on Yiddish literature by looking at the series of the writer’s unpublished lecture notes in English and his literary criticism. It centers on Singer’s formulation of “folk-lore”, the writer’s literary formula that reveals the main inspirations of his unique literary style. These included the turn to the diaspora experience as a source of themes for fiction inspired by the diaspora nationalist Y.L Peretz, the inclusion of repressed subjects, “the Jewish underground”, to Yiddish literature, and the unrestrained way of writing about sexual relations, most likely provoked by S. Freud and Polish modernist writers. The chapter demonstrates that Singer’s fascination with Hasidic culture was fuelled by his engagement with secular modernist writing, which made him to rediscover Hasidic Judaism as an attractive literary trope. The role of Singer’s “adopted city” (Sharpe), Warsaw, in stimulating the direction he was to follow in his creative endeavours is also examined. A closer look at Singer’s secular influences helps us to situate his oeuvre as conceived at the crossroads of Polish, Jewish and European modernisms, a perspective which sheds new light on reading and interpreting the writer’s fiction.

In: Places and Forms of Encounter in Jewish Literatures

Abstract

This chapter focuses on how the Danish-Jewish fin-de-siècle intellectual Georg Brandes (1842–1927) reacts with his cosmopolitan ideal of a transnational vision, particularly the figure of the modern Jew, to an otherwise dominant anti-Semitic projection of the bourgeois-influenced “assimilated Jew” as rootless and non-contributive. Brandes’ ideal suggests that the individual acts within a national culture but does not at the same time feel bound to its tradition, thus allowing the individual to create innovation more easily. Brandes projects this cosmopolitan ideal as universal, represented through the topos of exile and the figure of the emigrant. Brandes’ ideal is discussed as a predecessor to the figure of the stranger, which Georg Simmel is considered to have introduced to academic discourse in his essay “Exkurs über den Fremden” (1908). I argue that Brandes’ transnational vision and Simmel’s stranger have to be read as reaction to modern anti-Semitism which accentuates the contributions of the “assimilated Jew” to Western civilization.

In: Places and Forms of Encounter in Jewish Literatures
Author: Thomas Nolden

Abstract

This chapter discusses Georges Perec’s exploration of a space for Jewish writing after the Shoah. Perec’s situation as a Jewish writer is read against the matrix of autobiographical essays in which he tries to outline the unique spatial point of departure of his writing. The desire to fill the blank page of Jewish writing appears joined with the desire to locate himself – and with it, Jewish writing – on a map that captures French literary history. The difficulty to revisit the sites of one’s childhood is reflected in the Jewish writer’s attempt at finding precursors for their literary endeavors in literary history. The essay closes with an outlook on Perec’s influence (H. Bloom) on post-Shoah writing.

In: Places and Forms of Encounter in Jewish Literatures
In: Places and Forms of Encounter in Jewish Literatures