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Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 329 Reviews in any case incorrect. The first is listed as occuring only on pp. 108-109 and the second only on pp. 372-373. This is, however, untrue for both appear on page 108. Moreover, some nouns are quoted in their nominative, accusative, or any other case. This applies to Latin references as well (insidae, per insidias, and insidiis are quoted together on p. 452). There seems to be no system in the way the index has been compiled, which makes it practically useless. Perhaps some of the examples which I have quoted above might be seen as hypercritical. However, as stated earlier, the text-critic should be meticulously correct with quotations, representation of readings, etc. In the case of research in an unknown field such as Armenian texts, this is even more true, for the uninitated reader is more dependent on the author's handling of the material. If the author has made such a large number of errors, some of which I have illustrated above, it is just natural that one would be extremely apprehensive about the manner in which the Armenian text has been dealt with. Moreover, if this was a book exclusively intended for specialists, one could perhaps still close one's eyes to these glaring mistakes. However, in the light of his declared intention on page 25, one must wonder whether the author has actually succeeded in achieving his aim. Johann Cook University of Stellenbosch Matieland. South Africa cook@akad.sun.ac.za TASTING THE DISH: RABBINIC RHETORICS OF SEXUALITY. By Michael Sallow. Brown Judaic Studies 303. pp. xix + 370. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1995. Cloth. In this book, Michael Satlow undertakes an extensive examination of rabbinic rhetorics of sexuality as documented by the canonical works of Jewish late antiquity, the Mishnah, Tosefta, midrash collections, and the two Talmudim. He begins by noting that "Sexuality is a cultural and societal construct" (p. 1), which must be placed and studied historically within the context of a particular time and place. Specifically, Satlow outlines three goals for his study: "(1) to identify the rhetorical strategies by which the rabbis of late antiquity sought to promote their sexual mores; (2) to Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 330 Reviews isolate and identify the different voices on sexuality within this literature; and (3) to uncover some of the assumptions and constructions of sexuality and their development (or misreading) throughout the rabbinic literature of late antiquity." (pp. 6-7) In these, he is most successful regarding (2), and to a lesser extent (3). Unfortunately, in regards to (I), Satlow's work displays some troubling methodological confusion. Satlow defmes rhetoric for the purpose of this study as "any linguistic attempt to persuade a listener/reader" (p. 7). He suggests that the study of rhetoric regarding sexuality is of particular importance because the expression of sexuality as "an essentially private activity...essentially resistant to legal coercion, has always been (and continues to be) 'enforced' extralegally " (pp. 7-8). While various societies have had more or less power to, and success in, attempts £0 legislate sexual behavior, the point is especially relevant to rabbinic Judaism of late antiquity, a period in which it is generally recognized that rabbis had little coercive power outside that of rhetorical persuasion. However, one of the methodological failings of this book becomes clear when Satlow begins placing rabbinic materials into rhetorical categories. In his introduction, Satlow divides rabbinic rhetorical strategies regarding sexuality into two broad types, which he labels "legal" and "persuasive." Legal rhetorics involve defming sexual transgressions ("what must occur with whom," p. 8), categorizing them, and establishing liability for their violation. All other rhetorics seeking to promote sexual norms would fall into the category of "persuasive." Some examples of this category are rhetorics that associate sexual sins with one another or with other sins, that ascribe a sexual act to some "Other'" thereby using it to define boundaries between Jew and non-Jew, or that threaten transgressors with extra-legal human or divine punishment. In the chapters themselves, each of which examines a different type of sexual liaison, Satlow further divides the materials he fmds into rhetorics of "Defmition." "Categorization," "Liability," "Progeny," "Associations...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 329-332
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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