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Other titles in the Jewish Culture and Contexts series:
Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History: Authority, Diaspora, Tradition (Jewish Culture and Contexts)by Ra'anan S. Boustan
Synopses & Reviews
Over the past several decades, the field of Jewish studies has expanded to encompass an unprecedented range of research topics, historical periods, geographic regions, and analytical approaches. Yet there have been few systematic efforts to trace these developments, to consider their implications, and to generate new concepts appropriate to a more inclusive view of Jewish culture and society. Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History brings together scholars in anthropology, history, religious studies, comparative literature, and other fields to chart new directions in Jewish studies across the disciplines.This groundbreaking volume explores forms of Jewish experience that span the period from antiquity to the present and encompass a wide range of textual, ritual, spatial, and visual materials. The essays give full consideration to non-written expressions of ritual performance, artistic production, spoken narrative, and social experience through which Jewish life emerges. More than simply contributing to an appreciation of Jewish diversity, the contributors devote their attention to three key concepts--authority, diaspora, and tradition--that have long been central to the study of Jews and Judaism. Moving beyond inherited approaches and conventional academic boundaries, the volume reconsiders these core concepts, reorienting our understanding of the dynamic relationships between text and practice, and continuity and change in Jewish contexts. More broadly, this volume furthers conversation across the disciplines by using Judaic studies to provoke inquiry into theoretical problems in a range of other areas.
Book News Annotation:
Jewish Culture and Contexts is a book series arising from the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the U. of Pennsylvania. This volume has its roots in a year's worth of deliberations (2003-2004) among scholars invited by the Center to explore the theme "Prescriptive Traditions and Lived Experience in the Jewish Religion: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives." The Center's director states in his preface: "The exciting results of much of this conversation are now before the reader. It would not be an exaggeration to consider the volume at hand as field-defining, even as expanding and moving Jewish studies into a new era and into a new self-perception of what constitutes Jewish learning." The three editors are affiliated as follows: Ra'anan S. Boustan (history and Near Eastern languages and cultures, U. of California, Los Angeles); Oren Kosansky (anthropology, Lewis & Clark College); and Marina Rustow (humanities, The Johns Hopkins U.). They provide a substantial introduction clarifying the themes; the epilogue by Harvey E. Goldberg (emeritus, sociology and anthropology, Hebrew U. of Jerusalem) is titled "Toward an Integrative Approach in Jewish Studies: A View from Anthropology." Thirteen contributions are arranged in sections corresponding to the three themes announced in the subtitle: authority, diaspora, and tradition. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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