The paper suggests that by paying attention to discursive dynamics of word-image play—rather than to it to overt thematic appearances in rabbinic texts - the intricate imprints of the destruction of the temple can be better appreciated. The first part of the paper focuses on the analogies of houses and ruined structures as they operate in one given sugya in bKet 61b-63a. Women as houses, houses of study and "the" house constitute a semantic network in the sugya, which is in turn associated with two anecdotes of sages facing collapsing structures (houses). The second part relates these anecdotes to a recognized trope which appears elsewhere (most notably in bTa'an 20b-21a). Finally, the analogy between collapsing structures and the destruction of the temple is shown to appear explicitly in two other narratives in the Babylonian Talmud (bBer 58b, bBer 3a).
The paper argues that informed by the destruction of the temple as a paradigmatic discursive event, rabbinic Babylonian discourse, and through that – rabbinic identity, embodies that event, reproducing the image of the ruined house as a complex, multi-faceted and generative model in its discursive practices. In the Babylonian rabbinic discourse it serves as a meta-discursive marker that both binds and disrupts an array of analogically constituted cultural domains. The linguistic representation of a ruined structure - the temple - constitutes a discursive evocation of both presence and absence.
Minkoff, N. B., 1893-1958 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Yiddish poetry -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
Nokhum Borukh Minkov (1893–1958), best known today as a literary critic and historian, was also a talented poet and co-founder of the Introspectivist movement (Inzikh) in Yiddish poetry in New York. The poetry created under the banner of this movement—to whose ideas Minkov remained committed throughout his poetic career—was full of complicated rhythmic schemes, kaleidoscopic imagery, and vibrant sound- and wordplay. In keeping with part of the Introspectivist program Minkov’s poetry was keenly sensitive to the cultural resonances of Yiddish’s linguistic strata and manipulated them to great effect. I will focus my attention on one especially resonant element—“daytshmerish,” or spotlit Germanisms—as a point of access to Minkov’s poetic project. This essay aims to provide not only an analysis of the permutations of the emblematic use of both the word and the concept of Schadenfreude as the Germanism par excellence in Minkov’s poetry, but offers that discussion as a way of understanding the significance of Introspectivist poetry in the interbellum period and the fraught relationship of Yiddish to German after the Holocaust.
In modern times, nowhere were Jews as open to involvement in wider Arab culture or more at home in standard literary Arabic than in Iraq during the first half of the twentieth century. Among the newly emerging Iraqi intelligentsia of the time were young secular Jews who saw themselves as Arab citizens loyal to the country of their birth. The reality in which they lived and worked was one of close symbiotic contact with the wider Arab-Muslim culture. For most of them their Arab identity was uppermost—they were “Arabs of the Mosaic faith.” Their presence was felt in almost all branches of Iraqi culture but especially in the literary domain. From the 1920s, Iraqi-Jewish writers and poets produced works secular in essence that immediately entered the main stream of Arabic literature. However, with a change in the external political circumstances, Arab-Jewish culture underwent a process of marginalization and negligence and gradually dropped into utter oblivion. The Muslim-Arab and the Jewish-Zionist canonical cultural and national systems, each from their own narrowed visions and particularist considerations, have refused to accept the legitimacy of Arab-Jewish cultural hybridity. We are currently witnessing the demise of Arab-Jewish culture. A tradition that started more than fifteen hundred years ago is vanishing before our eyes and Arabic is gradually disappearing as a language mastered by Jews.
Arab Jews, Iraqi Jews, Arab-Jewish culture, Iraqi-Jewish literature, Jewish-Muslim relations, Arab-Israeli conflict, Zionism and Arabism