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American Jewish Life

The Lost Minyan, by David M. Gitlitz. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2010. 316 pp. $29.95. ISBN 978-0-8263-4973-6.

Between 1391 and 1492 a substantial number of Spain's Jewish community, once the largest in Europe, converted to Catholicism either voluntarily or through physical or psychological coercion. The Lost Minyan profiles ten Crypto-Jewish families coping with the trauma of living between worlds, neither wholly Catholic nor wholly Jewish. Struggling to hide their secrets from neighbors, servants, children, and even spouses, they try to resolve the tension between their need for and fear of community. While the details and conversations of these lives are fictional, they draw from historical fact as documented in eyewitness accounts, contemporary chronicles, and the dossiers of Inquisition trials in the archives of Spain and Mexico.

Ancient World and Archaeology

Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls: An Assessment of Old and New Approaches and Methods, edited by Maxine L. Grossman. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010. 318 pp. $28.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-4009-7.

Both within and outside the field of Qumran scholarship, the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls is sometimes treated as a rather specialized closed shop. By encouraging interdisciplinary methodological discussions, this volume intends to open that shop and invite new conversations across lines of interest, discipline, and scholarly subfield. Fifteen scholars representing diverse perspectives offer here a window into the study of these ancient texts. They introduce readers to a wide range of established and experimental treatments of the Scrolls, including paleography, archaeology, manuscript analysis, and a variety of literary, historical, and social scientific approaches. The authors provide not only an introduction to a [End Page 221] given approach but also an assessment of the limits of their approaches and the potential pitfalls associated with them.

Art and Music

Across Centuries and Cultures: Musicological Studies in Honor of Joachim Braun, edited by Kevin C. Karnes and Levi Sheptovitsky. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010. 373 pp. $86.95. ISBN 978-3-631-59986-0.

In this volume, twenty-three scholars pay tribute to the life and work of Joachim Braun with musicological essays covering the breadth of Professor Braun's several fields of research. Topics covered include Jewish music and music in ancient Israel/Palestine, musical cultures of the Baltic States, and the historical study of musical instruments. Its collected essays range in approach from archival to analytical and from iconographic to critical, and consider a wide range of subjects, including the music of Jewish displaced persons during and after World War II, Roman and Byzantine organology, medieval hymnody, and Soviet musical life under Stalin.

Biblical and Rabbinic Literature

With All Thine Heart: Love and the Bible, by Ilan Stavans with Mordecai Drache. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010. 192 pp. $21.95. ISBN 978-0-8135-4797-8.

Cultural critic Ilan Stavans speaks to freelance writer Mordecai Drache about love in the Bible. Presented in a conversational format and touched with artwork, the dialogue between Stavans and Drache is meant to show how the Bible is a multidimensional text and one that, when considered over the course of history, still has the power to shape our world. The theme of love provides the connective tissue that binds this work. Addressing a wide range of topics, from biblical archaeology and fundamentalism to Hollywood movies, lexicography, and the act of praying, With All Thine Heart suggests that the Hebrew Bible is a novel worth decoding patiently.

Biography, Autobiography, Memoirs, Diaries

Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography, by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón. New York: Hill and Wang, 2010. 160 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8090-2685-2.

Drawing on the historical sites, archives, expertise, and authority of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón have [End Page 222] created an authorized graphic biography of Anne Frank. Their account covers the lives of Anne's parents, Edith and Otto; Anne's first years in Frankfurt; the rise of Nazism; the Franks' immigration to Amsterdam; war and occupation; Anne's years in the Secret Annex; betrayal and arrest; her deportation and tragic death in...


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