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Difference of a Different Kind Cover

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Difference of a Different Kind

Jewish Constructions of Race During the Long Eighteenth Century

By Iris Idelson-Shein

European Jews, argues Iris Idelson-Shein, occupied a particular place in the development of modern racial discourse during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Simultaneously inhabitants and outsiders in Europe, considered both foreign and familiar, Jews adopted a complex perspective on otherness and race. Often themselves the objects of anthropological scrutiny, they internalized, adapted, and revised the emerging discourse of racial difference to meet their own ends.

Difference of a Different Kind explores Jewish perceptions and representations of otherness during the formative period in the history of racial thought. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including philosophical and scientific works, halakhic literature, and folktales, Idelson-Shein unfolds the myriad ways in which eighteenth-century Jews imagined the "exotic Other" and how the evolving discourse of racial difference played into the construction of their own identities. Difference of a Different Kind offers an invaluable view into the ways new religious, cultural, and racial identities were imagined and formed at the outset of modernity.

The Discipline of Philosophy and the Invention of Modern Jewish Thought Cover

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The Discipline of Philosophy and the Invention of Modern Jewish Thought

Willi Goetschel

Exploring the subject of Jewish philosophy as a controversial construction site of the project of modernity, this book examines the implications of the different and often conflicting notions that drive the debate on the question of what Jewish philosophy is or could be. The idea of Jewish philosophy begs the question of philosophy as such. But "Jewish philosophy" does not just reflect what "philosophy" lacks. Rather, it challenges the project of philosophy itself. Examining the thought of Spinoza, Moses Mendelssohn, Heinrich Heine, Hermann Cohen Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Margarete Susman, Hermann Levin Goldschmidt, and others, the book highlights how the most philosophic moments of their works are those in which specific concerns of their "Jewish questions" inform the rethinking of philosophy's disciplinarity in principal terms. The long overdue recognition of the modernity that informs the critical trajectories of Jewish philosophers from Spinoza and Mendelssohn to the present emancipates not just "Jewish philosophy" from an infelicitous pigeonhole these philosophers so pointedly sought to reject but, more important, emancipates philosophy from its false claims to universalism.

The Divine Symphony Cover

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The Divine Symphony

the Bible's many voices

Authored by Israel Knohl

In this fascinating book, Knohl shares his understanding of how the Torah was edited into its final form. He bridges the gap between ancient Israel (c.1400-586 B.C.E.) and Second Temple times (c.536 B.C.E.-70 C.E.) by showing the continuity between these eras and the gradual evolution of the biblical worldview, which formed the foundation of later rabbinic Judaism. The book focuses on the editing of the Torah, interpreting the textual evidence, most notably contradictions and redundancies, to show that the idea of a pluralistic understanding of Revelation can be traced back to the editing of the Torah itself. Knohl's interpretation of biblical composition challenges a popular trend in contemporary biblical scholarship: the idea that ancient Israel never existed as a historical reality, but was invented and "retrojected" back in time by later Israelite priests as part of their national myth.

Doubly Chosen Cover

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Doubly Chosen

Jewish Identity, the Soviet Intelligentsia, and the Russian Orthodox Church

Judith Deutsch Kornblatt

    Doubly Chosen provides the first detailed study of a unique cultural and religious phenomenon in post-Stalinist Russia—the conversion of thousands of Russian Jewish intellectuals to Orthodox Christianity, first in the 1960s and later in the 1980s. These time periods correspond to the decades before and after the great exodus of Jews from the Soviet Union. Judith Deutsch Kornblatt contends that the choice of baptism into the Church was an act of moral courage in the face of Soviet persecution, motivated by solidarity with the values espoused by Russian Christian dissidents and intellectuals. Oddly, as Kornblatt shows, these converts to Russian Orthodoxy began to experience their Jewishness in a new and positive way.
    Working primarily from oral interviews conducted in Russia, Israel, and the United States, Kornblatt underscores the conditions of Soviet life that spurred these conversions: the virtual elimination of Judaism as a viable, widely practiced religion; the transformation of Jews from a religious community to an ethnic one; a longing for spiritual values; the role of the Russian Orthodox Church as a symbol of Russian national culture; and the forging of a new Jewish identity within the context of the Soviet dissident movement.

Dying in the Law of Moses Cover

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Dying in the Law of Moses

Crypto-Jewish Martyrdom in the Iberian World

Miriam Bodian

Miriam Bodian's study of crypto-Jewish martyrdom in Iberian lands depicts a new type of martyr that emerged in the late 16th century -- a defiant, educated judaizing martyr who engaged in disputes with inquisitors. By examining closely the Inquisition dossiers of four men who were tried in the Iberian peninsula or Spanish America and who developed judaizing theologies that drew from currents of Reformation thinking that emphasized the authority of Scripture and the religious autonomy of individual interpreters of Scripture, Miriam Bodian reveals unexpected connections between Reformation thought and historic crypto-Judaism. The complex personalities of the martyrs, acting in response to psychic and situational pressures, emerge vividly from this absorbing book.

Eight Questions of Faith Cover

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Eight Questions of Faith

Biblical Challenges That Guide and Ground Our Lives

Niles Elliot Goldstein

Eight Questions of Faith is a spiritual exploration of some of life’s biggest questions—questions that have been asked by prophets and kings, mystics and sinners, and that continue to be asked by every one of us today. 
 
Niles Elliot Goldstein uses eight questions found in the Bible to explore the human journey from cradle to grave, confronting such important existential experiences and themes as mortality, responsibility, forbidden knowledge, sin, and the afterlife. By interweaving texts from the Bible, commentaries, philosophy, psychology, and literature with his own experiences, Goldstein also meditates on midlife. This book will appeal to believers and nonbelievers alike and is aimed at anyone who has ever faced a challenge or wondered what life is all about.

Elie Wiesel Cover

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Elie Wiesel

Jewish, Literary, and Moral Perspectives

Edited by Steven T. Katz and Alan Rosen

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel, best known for his writings on the Holocaust, is also the accomplished author of novels, essays, tales, and plays as well as portraits of seminal figures in Jewish life and experience. In this volume, leading scholars in the fields of Biblical, Rabbinic, Hasidic, Holocaust, and literary studies offer fascinating and innovative analyses of Wiesel's texts as well as illuminating commentaries on his considerable influence as a teacher and as a moral voice for human rights. By exploring the varied aspects of Wiesel's multifaceted career—his texts on the Bible, the Talmud, and Hasidism as well as his literary works, his teaching, and his testimony—this thought-provoking volume adds depth to our understanding of the impact of this important man of letters and towering international figure.

The Emergence of Modern Hebrew Creativity in Babylon, 1735- 1950 Cover

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The Emergence of Modern Hebrew Creativity in Babylon, 1735- 1950

by Lev Hakak

This book begins with a brief history about the Jews in Babylon (Iraq), their Hebrew creativity and the fact that this creativity was excluded from the history of Modern Hebrew literature because it was unknown to the scholars. The book focuses on the years 1735-1950 and presents the secular Hebrew poetry written in Babylon at that time, the folktales, journalistic articles, and epistles, research of Hebrew literature, a story and a play.

The En Yaaqov Cover

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The En Yaaqov

Jacob ibn Habib’s Search for Faith in the Talmudic Corpus

Marjorie Lehman

Examines the origins of the En Yaaqov in the tumultuous medieval period and the motivations of its creator, exiled Spanish rabbi Jacob ibn Habib.

Encountering the Jewish Future Cover

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Encountering the Jewish Future

with Wiesel, Buber, Heschel, Arendt, Levinas

By Marc H. Ellis

Marc Ellis maintains that the most vital questions about Judaism are prefigured in the work of Elie Wiesel, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Hannah Arendt, and Emmanuel Levinas. Ellis's work is framed by encounters with each thinker's work, focusing on topics of God, the Holocaust, the prophetic legacy, philosophical and ethical standpoints, and Jewish empowerment and dissent.

Two generations after the Holocaust and Israel's founding, Ellis argues that the uncertain future of Judaism requires a deeply personal and intellectual exploration of Jewish tradition and identity, in conversation with the best philosophical and theological minds of recent years.

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