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The Other in Jewish Thought and History: Constructions of Jewish Culture and Identity [Hardcover]

Michael Thompson , Laurence J. Silberstein , Robert L. Cohn

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Book Description

Aug. 1 1994 International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory
Cultural boundaries and group identity are often forged in relation to the Other. In every society, conceptions of otherness, which often reflect a group's fears and vulnerabilities, result in deep-rooted traditions of inclusion and exclusion that permeate the culture's literature, religion, and politics. This volume explores the ways in which Jews have traditionally defined other groups and, in turn, themselves. The contributors, a distinguished international group of scholars, explore the discursive processss through which Jewish identity and culture have been constructed, disseminated, and perpetuated. Among the topics addressed are: Others in the biblical world; the construction of gender in Roman-period Judaism; the Other as woman in the Greco-Roman world; the gentile as Other in rabbinic law; the feminine as Other in kabbalah; the reproduction of the Other in the Passover Haggadah; the Palestinian Arab as Other in Israeli politics and literature; the Other in Levinas and Derrida; Blacks as Other in American Jewish literature; the Jewish body image as symbol of Otherness; and women as Other in Israeli cinema. Contributors to this interdisciplinary volume are: Jonathan Boyarin (New School for Social Research), Robert L. Cohn (Lafayette College), Gerald Cromer (Bar-Ilan University), Trude Dothan (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Elizabeth Fifer (Lehigh University), Steven D. Fraade (Yale University), Sander L. Gilman (Cornell University), Hannan Hever (Tel Aviv University), Ross S. Kraemer (University of Pennsylvania), Orly Lubin (Tel Aviv University), Peter Machinist (Harvard University), Jacob Meskin (Williams College), Adi Ophir (Tel Aviv University), Ilan Peleg (Lafayette College), Miriam Peskowitz (University of Florida), Laurence J. Silberstein (Lehigh University), Naomi Sokoloff (University of Washington), and Elliot R. Wolfson (New York University).

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: New York University Press (Aug. 1 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814779891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814779897
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 753 g

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed- bag of essays on a highly interesting subject May 15 2006
By Shalom Freedman - Published on Amazon.com
Silberstein and Cohn are to be commended for honing in on a highly interesting subject, and for gathering together scholars from a wide number of fields to consider various aspects of it. However the results so far as I can tell are very mixed. I found offensive Adi Ophir 's absurd contention that Israeli Jews reading the Haggadah regard the 'Other' as defeated Palestinian Arabs. I also was not thrilled by Hanan Hever's analysis of the Canaanite conception of the 'other'.

My own principal concern in considering the question of the 'other' in the Jewish tradition relates to the conception of Mankind created in the 'image of G-d'. As among others Rabbi Irving Greenberg teaches this sense of the 'dignity of the other 'means that they are our ' equals'. How this translates in our understanding of our own special role in the world is major question that yields no easy answer.

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