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Other titles in the Cultural Memory in the Present series:
'Our Place in Al-Andalus': Kabbalah, Philosophy, Literature in Arab Jewish Letters (Cultural Memory of the Present)by Gil Anidjar
Synopses & Reviews
The year 1492 is only the last in a series of “ends” that inform the representation of medieval Spain in modern Jewish historical and literary discourses. These ends simultaneously mirror the traumas of history and shed light on the discursive process by which hermetic boundaries are set between periods, communities, and texts. This book addresses the representation of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as the end of al-Andalus (Islamic Spain). Here, the end works to locate and separate Muslim from Christian Spain, Jews from Arabs, philosophy from Kabbalah, Kabbalah from literature, and texts from contexts.
The book offers a reading of texts that emerge from its Andalusi, Jewish, and Arabic cultural sphere: Maimonides Guide of the Perplexed; the major text of Kabbalah, the Zohar; and the Arabic rhymed prose narrative of Ibn al-Astarkuwi. The author argues that these texts are written in a language that disrupts the possibility of locating it in a pre-existing cultural situation, a recognizable literary tradition, or a particular genre.
At stake are issues - texts and contexts - that have gained particular urgency in the writings of such recent thinkers as Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Avital Ronell. The book reads the place and taking place of language, interrogating the notion of disappearing contexts and the view that language is derivative of its true place, the context that, having ended, is mourned as silent and lost.
Book News Annotation:
Although at first glance Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed, the narratives of Ibn al-Astarkuwi, and the Zohar (the major text of the Jewish Kabbalah) seem to have little in common, they all emerged from the common cultural sphere of the Islamic Spain and were written as that sphere was coming to an end. Anidjar (Hebrew literature, Columbia U.) argues that they all placed themselves within the context of that loss, but that the way in which they were written was designed to deny the borders of the lost sphere. He offers three readings of the texts, examining their rhetoric and representations of "the end."
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This book addresses the representation of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as the end of al-Andalus (Islamic Spain).
This book offers a reading of Andalusi, Jewish, and Arabic texts that represent the 12th and 13th centuries as the end of el-Andalus (Islamic Spain).
“This is an original and extraordinarily refined work on a question that lies somewhere in the space between history and philosophy. . . . The author handles with equal ease the range of sources, both modern and medieval. His extremely elegant organization of the material reflects, at a very advanced level, a sense of style commensurate with the sophistication of his thinking.”—Maria Rosa Menocal, Yale University
Addresses the representation of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as the end of al-Andalus.
About the Author
Gil Anidjar is Associate Professor of Hebrew Literature at Columbia University
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