Italian Jewry in the Early Modern Era
Essays in Intellectual History
Series: Perspectives in Jewish Intellectual Life
Between the years 1550 and 1650, Italy's Jewish intellectuals created a unique and enduring synthesis of the great literary and philosophical heritage of the Andalusian Jews and the Renaissance`s renewal of perspective. While remaining faithful to the beliefs, behaviors, and language of their tradition, Italian Jews proved themselves open to a rapidly evolving world of great richness. The crisis of Aristotelianism (which progressively touched upon all fields of knowledge), religious fractures and unrest, the scientific revolution, and the new perception of reality expressed through a transformation of the visual arts: these are some of the changes experienced by Italian Jews which they were affected by in their own particular way. This book explores the complex relations between Jews and the world that surrounded them during a critical period of European civilization. The relations were rich, problematic, and in some cases strained, alternating between opposition and dialogue, osmosis and distinction.
Constructing the Jew in Russian Culture, 1880s to 2008
Exemplary Bodies: Constructing the Jew in Russian Culture, 1880s to 2008 explores the construction of the Jew’s physical and ontological body in Russian culture as represented in literature, film, and non-literary texts from the 1880s to the present. With the rise of the dominance of biological and racialist discourse in the 1880s, the depiction of Jewish characters in Russian literary and cultural productions underwent a significant change, as these cultural practices recast the Jew not only as an archetypal “exotic” and religious or class Other (as in Romanticism and realist writing), but as a biological Other whose acts, deeds, and thoughts were determined by racial differences. This Jew allegedly had physical and psychological characteristics that were genetically determined and that could not be changed by education, acculturation, conversion to Christianity, or change of social status. This stereotype has become a stable archetype that continues to operate in contemporary Russian society and culture.
Crafting the 613 Commandments
Maimonides on the Enumeration, Classification, and Formulation of the Scriptural Commandments
ALBERT D. FRIEDBERG
Rabbinic tradition has it that 613 commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai, but it does not specify those included in the enumeration. Maimonides methodically and artfully crafts a list of 613 commandments in a work that serves as a prolegemenon to the Mishneh Torah, his monumental code of law. This book explores the surprising way Maimonides put this tradition to use and his possible rationale for using such a tradition. It also explores many of the philosophical and ethical ideas animating the composition of such a list. In the book's second half, Friedberg examines the manner by which Maimonides formulated positive commandments in the Mishneh Torah, leading him to suggest new dimensions in Maimonides' legal theory.
The Codification of Jewish Law and an Introduction to the Jurisprudence of the Mishna Berura
MICHAEL J. BROYDE & IRA BEDZOW
The Mishna Berura is, without a doubt, Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan's greatest and most complex contribution to the canon of Orthodox Jewish Law; it is a singular work that synthesizes Jewish traditions, laws, and mores into a practical halakhic guide to daily religious life. For all of his traditionalism, Rabbi Kagan was an iconoclast, and the Mishna Berura broke from many of the traditional approaches of deciding halakhic directives. Instead, he favored studying, engaging, and asserting decisions in a nuanced, almost natural approach to how ethical people should live their daily lives consistent with Jewish law. Today, the Mishna Berura has gained widespread recognition and is considered authoritative by essentially all of contemporary Orthodox Jewry, a measure of greatness that few works of Halakha have attained. Michael J. Broyde and Ira Bedzow here investigate this seminal text and explore its background and decision-making process.
Visual Texts, Ceremonial Texts, Texts of Exploration
Collected Articles on the Representation of Russian Monarchy
Series: Imperial Encounters in Russian History
Visual Texts, Ceremonial Texts, Texts of Exploration continues the work begun in Russian Monarchy: Representation and Rule, which analyzed the interplay between the symbolic representations of Russian monarchs and the legal and institutional instruments of their rule. The articles in this volume examine the texts that, through various media, revealed the myths and scenarios conveying the goals and ideals the monarchy sought to elevate before the elite of the empire and, later, the public at large.
Russian monarchy inhabited a highly visual culture, comprising court ceremonials, parades, public festivities, and celebrations. It mobilized the arts through painting, prints, popular pictures (lubki), and even opera. This book examines that artistic culture, focusing on several aspects. Parts I and II analyze imagery and ceremony and their relation to the verbal texts that ascribed and defined their meanings. Part III details the way texts of exploration inspired the explorers who widened Russia’s engagement with the world. Parts IV and V address key texts of intellectual history and reflect on the scholarly and methodological influences on Wortman’s approach to history.
Representation and Rule
Series: Imperial Encounters in Russian History
This volume from the author of Scenarios of Power explores the effect of the symbolic and mythical representations of the Russian imperial government on law, administrative practice, and concepts of national and imperial identities throughout centuries of monarchical rule. Richard Wortman demonstrates how the ideologies behind such representations shaped the thought patterns not only of the tsar and the imperial family but also of the Russian political and social elite. He characterizes the monarchy as an active agent in Russia’s political experience, one whose dominant role was resisting change until the inevitable collapse facing all absolute monarchies.
Babel' in Context
A Study in Cultural Identity
Series: Borderlines: Russian and East-European Jewish Studies
Isaak Babel (1894–1940) is arguably one of the greatest modern short story writers of the early twentieth century. Yet his life and work are shrouded in the mystery of who Babel was—an Odessa Jew who wrote in Russian, who came from one of the most vibrant centers of east European Jewish culture and all his life loved Yiddish and the stories of Sholom Aleichem.This is the first book in English to study the intertextuality of Babel’s work. It looks at Babel’s cultural identity as a case study in the contradictions and tensions of literary influence, personal loyalties, and ideological constraint. The complex and often ambivalent relations between the two cultures inevitably raise controversial issues that touch on the reception of Babel and other Jewish intellectuals in Russian literature, as well as the “Jewishness” of their work.
Turn It and Turn It Again
Studies in the Teaching and Learning of Classical Jewish Texts
Edited by JON A LEVISOHN & SUSAN P. FENDRICK
Series: Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society
The study of classical Jewish texts is flourishing in day schools and adult education, synagogues and summer camps, universities and yeshivot. But serious inquiry into the practices and purposes of such study is far rarer. In this book, a diverse collection of empirical and conceptual studies illuminates particular aspects of the teaching of Bible and rabbinic literature to, and the learning of, children and adults. In addition to providing specific insights into the pedagogy of Jewish texts, these studies serve as models of what the disciplined study of pedagogy can look like. This book will be of interest to teachers of Jewish texts in all contexts, and will be particularly valuable for the professional development of Jewish educators.
Charms of the Cynical Reason
Tricksters in Soviet and Post-Soviet Culture
Series: Cultural Revolutions: Russia in the Twentieth Century
The impetus for Charms of the Cynical Reason is the phenomenal and little-explored popularity of various tricksters flourishing in official and unofficial Soviet culture, as well as in the post-Soviet era. Mark Lipovetsky interprets this puzzling phenomenon through analysis of the most remarkable and fascinating literary and cinematic images of soviet and post-Soviet tricksters, including such “cultural idioms” as Ostap Bender, Buratino, Vasilii Tyorkin, Stierlitz, and others. Soviet tricksters present survival in a cynical, contradictory, and inadequate world, not as a necessity, but as a field for creativity, play, and freedom. Through an analysis of the representation of tricksters in Soviet and post-Soviet culture, Lipovetsky attempts to draw a virtual map of the soviet and post-Soviet cynical reason: to identify its symbols, discourses, and contradictions, and by these means its historical development from the 1920s to the 2000s.
Exotic Moscow Under Western Eyes
Series: Cultural Revolutions: Russia in the Twentieth Century
This collection of essays on Turgenev, Goncharov, Conrad, Dostoevsky, Blok, Briusov, Gor’kii, Pasternak and Nabokov represents diverse voices but is also unified. One invariant is the recurring distinction between “culture” and “civilization” and the vision of Russia as the bearer of culture because it is “barbaric.” Another stance advocates the synthesis of “sense and sensibility” and the vision of “Apollo” and “Dionysus” creating a “civilized culture” together. Those voices that delight in the artificiality of civilization are complemented by those apprehensive of the dangers inherent in barbarism. This collection thus adds new perspectives to the much-debated opposition of vital Russia and a declining West, offering novel interpretations of classics from Oblomov to Lolita and The Idiot to Doctor Zhivago.
All the Same The Words Don't Go Away
Essays on Authors, Heroes, Aesthetics, and Stage Adaptations from the Russian Tradition
with an introduction by David Bethea
Series: Studies in Russian and Slavic Literatures, Cultures and History; Ars Rossica
Twenty-five years of essays and reviews, linked loosely by three themes. First is the creative potential inherent in transposing classic literary texts into other genres of media (operatic, dramatic) and the responsibilities, if any, that govern the transposer, audience, and critic. The practice of transposition, however, gives rise to a creative conflict: is there a limit to the amount of ornamentation, pressure, or dilution to which the “mediated” word can be subject? Finally, the more polemical of the essays included here are structured on the Bakhtinian notion of co-existing “plausibilities” and points of view. What a carnival approach can uncover in Pushkin that might have surprised and even pleased the poet, what a libretto or play script brings out that the “true original” hides: here the work of the creator and the critic can overlap in thrilling ways that respect the competencies of each. The book includes an original preface written by David Bethea.