How does the 'medieval' function as a bearer of Jewish identity in a changing secular world? Each chapter in this work addresses a different Jewish return to the medieval by using a language of renewal.
Demonstrating that similarities between Jewish and Christian art in the Middle Ages were more than coincidental, Cultural Exchange meticulously combines a wide range of sources to show how Jews and Christians exchanged artistic and material culture. Joseph Shatzmiller focuses on communities in northern Europe, Iberia, and other Mediterranean societies where Jews and Christians coexisted for centuries, and he synthesizes the most current research to describe the daily encounters that enabled both societies to appreciate common artistic values. Detailing the transmission of cultural sensibilities in the medieval money market and the world of Jewish money lenders, this book examines objects pawned by peasants and humble citizens, sacred relics exchanged by the clergy as security for loans, and aesthetic goods given up by the Christian well-to-do who required financial assistance. The work also explores frescoes and decorations likely painted by non-Jews in medieval and early modern Jewish homes located in Germanic lands, and the ways in which Jews hired Christian artists and craftsmen to decorate Hebrew prayer books and create liturgical objects. Conversely, Christians frequently hired Jewish craftsmen to produce liturgical objects used in Christian churches. With rich archival documentation, Cultural Exchange sheds light on the social and economic history of the creation of Jewish and Christian art, and expands the general understanding of cultural exchange in brand-new ways.
Collects a wide range of writings, from autobiographical sketches and legal codes to folk literature and liturgical poetry, to provide a sweeping view of medieval and early modern Jewish ritual and religious practice that considers many lesser-known aspects of Jewish culture. Reprint.
"As a recently established field of Jewish thought, Jewish political philosophy has made increasingly frequent appearances in recently edited histories of Jewish philosophy. Following the pioneering efforts of Leo Strauss, Ralph Lerner and Daniel Elazar, among others, Jewish political philosophy gained its proper place alongside ethics and metaphysics in the study of the history of Jewish philosophy. This volume is another manifestation of this welcomed development. Consisting of selected papers published in English over the last thirty years, Wisdom's Little Sister concentrates on the Medieval and Renaissance periods, from Sa'adiah Gaon in the tenth century to Spinoza in the seventeenth century. These were the formative periods in the development of Jewish political philosophy, when Jewish scholars, versed in the canonical Jewish sources (biblical and rabbinic), encountered Greek political philosophy as transmitted by Muslim philosophers such as Alfarabi, Ibn Bajja and Averroes. In combining Greek, Jewish and Muslim thought, these scholars are the originators of what we now know as Jewish political philosophy."--Publisher's website.
Does death end life, or is it the passage from one stage of life to another? In The Death of Death, noted theologian Neil Gillman offers readers an original and compelling argument that Judaism, a religion often thought to pay little attention to the afterlife, not only presents us with rich ideas on this subject-but delivers a deathblow to death itself. Combining astute scholarship with keen historical, theological and liturgical insights, Gillman outlines the evolution of Jewish thought about bodily resurrection and spiritual immortality. Beginning with the near - silence of the Bible on the afterlife, he traces the development of these two doctrines through Jewish history. He also describes why today, somewhat surprisingly, more contemporary Jewish scholars - including Gillman - have unabashedly reaffirmed the notion of bodily resurrection. In this innovative and personal synthesis, Gillman creates a strikingly modern statement on resurrection and immortality. The Death of Death gives new and fascinating life to an ancient debate. This new work is an intellectual and spiritual milestone for all of us interested in the meaning of life, as well as the meaning of death.
This book surveys the vast body of medieval Jewish philosophy, devoting ample discussion to major figures such as Saadiah Gaon, Maimonides, Abraham Ibn Ezra, Judah Halevi, Abraham Ibn Daoud, and Gersonides, as well as presenting the ancillary texts of lesser known authors. Sirat quotes little-known texts, providing commentary and situating them within their historical and philosophical contexts. A comprehensive bibliography directs the reader to the texts themselves and to recent studies.
An introduction to Jewish philosophical thought during the Middle Ages.
CONTRIBUTORS Javier Castano, Mordechai Cohen, Jonathan Decter, Talya Fishman, Avraham Grossman, Elisabeth Hollender , Moshe Idel , Ephraim Kanarfogel, Tzvi Langermann, Hananel Mack, Paul Mandel, Ivan Marcus, Lucia Raspe, Elchanan Reiner, Pinchas Roth, Richard Steiner, Michael Toch
Did Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages cohabit in a peaceful "interfaith utopia?" Or were Jews under Muslim rule persecuted, much as they were in Christian lands? Rejecting both polemically charged "myths," Mark Cohen offers a systematic comparison of Jewish life in medieval Islam and Christendom--the first in-depth explanation of why medieval Islamic-Jewish relations, though not utopic, were less confrontational and violent than those between Christians and Jews in the West.
In A Remembrance of His Wonders, David I. Shyovitz uncovers the sophisticated ways in which medieval Ashkenazic Jews engaged with the workings and meaning of the natural world, and traces the porous boundaries between medieval science and mysticism, nature and the supernatural, and ultimately, Christians and Jews.
The only travel guide to Israel that will help you to prepare spiritually for your visit. Combining ancient blessings, medieval prayers, biblical references, and modern poetry?in quick reference format?it helps today's pilgrim tap into deep spiritual meaning of the ancient?and modern?sites of the Holy Land. For each of the twenty-five major tourist destinations?from the Western Wall to Masada to a kibbutz in Galilee?it gives guidance in sharply focused four-step sections: ? Anticipation: To read in advance. Information to help orient you in the site's historical context. ? Approach: To read on the way there. Readings from traditional and modern sources to orient you in the site's spiritual context. ? Acknowledgment: To read at the site. A prayer or blessing to integrate the experience into your spiritual consciousness. ? Afterthought: Journaling space for writing your own thoughts and impressions.
At every critical juncture in Jewish history, Jews have understood a dynamic theology to be essential for a vital Jewish community. This important collection sets the next stage of Jewish theological thought, bringing together a cross section of interesting new voices from all movements in Judaism to inspire and stimulate discussion now and in the years to come. Provocative and wide-ranging, these invigorating and creative insights from a new generation's thought leaders provide a coherent and inspiring picture of Jewish belief in our time. "Demonstrates that there is not only a future to the Jewish theological enterprise in America but an exciting, fully realized, and challenging future. Abraham Joshua Heschel and Mordecai Kaplan would be thrilled. This book belongs on the shelf of every serious student of Jewish thought."---Rabbi Neil Gillman, PhD, Aaron Rabinowitz and Simon H. Rifkind Emeritus Professor of Jewish Philosophy, The Jewish Theological Seminary; author, Doing Jewish Theology: God, Torah and Israel in Modern Judaism "Intellectually and spiritually exhilarating. Indeed, it augurs well for the future of American Judaism."---Paul Mendes-Flohr, PhD, professor of Jewish thought, University of Chicago Divinity School; professor emeritus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem "The Jewish conversation about God has continued for thousands of years. The wonderful collection of new voices represented in [this book] enriches not only the conversation but also the reader who will discover how rich, varied, and meaningful that conversation can be."---Rabbi Laura Geller, senior rabbi, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills "Anyone engaged in constructing a contemporary Jewish theology must proceed carefully so as not to try to shove the square pegs of modern thought and experience into the cylindrical holes of classical Jewish life and thinking. Nevertheless, an awareness of all these challenges should not discourage the project and progress of Jewish theology, but rather serve to mark the path along which the journey should proceed. It is not an easy or identifiable road. Flipping through the pages of this book, you will readily see that we live in an age when the boundaries of what constitutes Jewish theological thought are as wide as they are sometimes imperceptible."---From the Introduction From the Garden of Eden onward, the God-idea has taken on a varied and ever-evolving number of expressions within Judaism. From Mount Sinai to the prophets of the exile, from Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed to Kabbalah, from Chasidism to mid-twentieth-century North America, theological inquiry, diverse in its content and idiom, has sustained the Jewish People. The passionate voices of a new generation of Jewish thinkers continue that dialogue with God, examining the dynamics of what Jews can believe today.
Is Judaism a religion, a culture, a nationality--or a mixture of all of these? In How Judaism Became a Religion, Leora Batnitzky boldly argues that this question more than any other has driven modern Jewish thought since the eighteenth century. This wide-ranging and lucid introduction tells the story of how Judaism came to be defined as a religion in the modern period--and why Jewish thinkers have fought as well as championed this idea. Ever since the Enlightenment, Jewish thinkers have debated whether and how Judaism--largely a religion of practice and public adherence to law--can fit into a modern, Protestant conception of religion as an individual and private matter of belief or faith. Batnitzky makes the novel argument that it is this clash between the modern category of religion and Judaism that is responsible for much of the creative tension in modern Jewish thought. Tracing how the idea of Jewish religion has been defended and resisted from the eighteenth century to today, the book discusses many of the major Jewish thinkers of the past three centuries, including Moses Mendelssohn, Abraham Geiger, Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Zvi Yehuda Kook, Theodor Herzl, and Mordecai Kaplan. At the same time, it tells the story of modern orthodoxy, the German-Jewish renaissance, Jewish religion after the Holocaust, the emergence of the Jewish individual, the birth of Jewish nationalism, and Jewish religion in America. More than an introduction, How Judaism Became a Religion presents a compelling new perspective on the history of modern Jewish thought.
Talya Fishman explores the impact of the textualization process in medieval Europe on the Babylonian Talmud's roles within Jewish culture.
This book examines a wide range of theologians, philosophers, and exegetes who share a passionate engagement with Maimonides, assaulting, adopting, subverting, or adapting his philosophical and jurisprudential thought. This ongoing enterprise is critical to any appreciation of the broader scope of Jewish law, philosophy, biblical interpretation, and Kabbalah.
The 16 contributions to this volume, written by scholars from various fields of religious studies, lead the reader to comprehend the plurality of interreligious encounters, hostile yet also peaceful, between the Children of Abraham, i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Part of the Jewish Encounter series Taking in everything from the Kingdom of David to the Oslo Accords, Ruth Wisse offers a radical new way to think about the Jewish relationship to power. Traditional Jews believed that upholding the covenant with God constituted a treaty with the most powerful force in the universe; this later transformed itself into a belief that, unburdened by a military, Jews could pursue their religious mission on a purely moral plain. Wisse, an eminent professor of comparative literature at Harvard, demonstrates how Jewish political weakness both increased Jewish vulnerability to scapegoating and violence, and unwittingly goaded power-seeking nations to cast Jews as perpetual targets. Although she sees hope in the State of Israel, Wisse questions the way the strategies of the Diaspora continue to drive the Jewish state, echoing Abba Eban's observation that Israel was the only nation to win a war and then sue for peace. And then she draws a persuasive parallel to the United States today, as it struggles to figure out how a liberal democracy can face off against enemies who view Western morality as weakness. This deeply provocative book is sure to stir debate both inside and outside the Jewish world. Wisse's narrative offers a compelling argument that is rich with history and bristling with contemporary urgency. From the Hardcover edition.
A profile of the Zionist poet and philosopher offers insight into his representation of 11th- and 12th-century Andalusian Spain, analyzes the religious disciplines that informed his work and traces his fateful voyage to Palestine.
The first of its kind, this essay collection offers an extensive examination of Spinoza's relationship to medieval Jewish philosophy.

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