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Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 276 Reviews Judaism conceived as both a nationality and a religion, the Arab-Israeli conflict from the British Mandate period to Oslo II, the Holocaust, and the perils of Diaspora. In a more specific literary context, the discussions often tum towards world literature, the Bible, Yehoshua's reaction to criticism of his work, and analyses of authors who have most influenced his style (Agnon, Kafka, Faulkner). Hom contextualizes these issues by providing occasional passages of factual background. In a sense, Hom is a character in search of an author who can help him fathom the complex nature of Judaism and Israeli volatility. Far from being "dead," Hom's author, vitally engaged and devoid of hubris, is willing to re-examine his views and share. As Bulli tells Bernie, a fair number of literary critics, in addition to Yehoshua himself, have caught "a kind of mania" from Mr. Mani-Yehoshua's greatest literary accomplishment thus far-and continue to interpret and decode its multiple layers and interconnected strands twelve years after initial parts of this novel first appeared in print. Hom's book has now infected me with a variation of this mania: I feel that in order to do justice to Hom's portrayal of Yehoshua, I, too, must investigate the literary, political, and personal connections that operate upon Hom, possibly spending long hours in conversation with the interviewer in order to understand the genesis and implications of his book. Such a mise en abyme would prolong the delightful atmosphere of curiosity , humor, and self-reflection pervading Hom and Yehoshua's meetings. Yael Halevi-Wise Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14850 yh54@cornell.edu THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF THE JEWISH RELIGION. R. J. Zwi Werblowsky and Geoffrey Wigoder, eds. pp. xii + 764. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Cloth, $95.00. The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion compresses into a single volume some 2,400 items that define the major personalities, concepts, practices, and texts constituting that indefmable entity known as the Jewish religion. Though the dictionary is not quite what it could have been, its contents, bibliographies, and organization make it extremely valuable both as a reliable reference work for the general reader and as an accessible Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 277 Reviews starting point for students and scholars wishing to delve deeper into religious aspects of Judaism. The dictionary is an expanded and updated version of the Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion first published in 1966 and now out of print. The revisions make the dictionary a much more useful resource than its predecessor . More than half of its entries are newly authored, many by worldclass scholars, and not a few of these amount to mini-essays that are gems of concision and scholarly balance. The rest of the entries, inherited from the earlier encyclopedia, are only slightly revised if at all, but all articles are supplemented with bibliographies. The latter feature allows the user to follow up on a topic at greater length and are what make this dictionary especially useful for students. Confined by limited space, the bibliographies are of course incomplete, and they favor English language scholarship. However, they are often quite current, some citing research as recent as 1996, and when dealing with texts, they often provide information about translations and the editio princeps. Also to be commended is the editors' effort to include as authors of the entries scholars with a wide variety of institutional and religious commitments . Virtually all the entries reflect critical scholarship, but they reflect the perspectives of scholars from all major movements within Judaism, from Yeshiva University at one end of the spectrum to the Hebrew Union College on the other. (Curiously, only the New York faculty of JTS seems underrepresented among the contributors to the dictionary.) An emphasis on diversity and inclusiveness is also often reflected in the articles themselves which, within the tight constraints of a dictionary entry, often do their best to register the diversity of Jewish or scholarly perspectives on a topic. The embrace of the dictionary is not completely encompassing. There is no entry, for example, on Sally Preisand, the first woman ordained as a rabbi in the Reform movement...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 276-278
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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