Synopses & Reviews
In The Aroma of Righteousness, Deborah Green explores images of perfume and incense in late Roman and early Byzantine Jewish literature. Using literary methods to illuminate the rabbinic literature, Green demonstrates the ways in which the rabbis’ reading of biblical texts and their intimate experience with aromatics build and deepen their interpretations. The study uncovers the cultural associations that are evoked by perfume and incense in both the Hebrew Bible and midrashic texts and seeks to understand the cultural, theological, and experiential motivations and impulses that lie behind these interpretations. Green accomplishes this by examining the relationship between the textual traditions of the Hebrew Bible and Midrash, the surviving evidence from the material culture of Palestine in the late Roman and early Byzantine periods, and cultural evidence as described by the rabbis and other Roman authors.
"The Aroma of Righteousness makes highly original and important contributions to two subject areas that do not normally meet--rabbinic scriptural interpretation, particularly of the Song of Songs, and the religious employment of physical senses, herein scent--especially by locating both in their broader Jewish and general cultural settings. It is a richly rewarding book to read and savor."
--Steven D. Fraade, Yale University
"Studies aroma in Jewish life and literature in Palestine in the late Roman and early Byzantine periods. Uses the history and material culture of perfume and incense as a lens to view daily activities"--Provided by publisher.
About the Author
Deborah A. Green is Greenberg Associate Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature in the Department of Religious Studies and Director of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at the University of Oregon.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Note on Style
1. Tracking the Trail of Scent: An Introduction
2 . The Aroma of Daily Life: Aromatics in Roman and Rabbinic Culture
3. Election and the Erotic: Biblical Portrayals of Perfume and Incense
4 . Spicy Ideologies: Fragrance and Rabbinic Beliefs
5. Soothing Odors: Death, Suffering, and Sacrifice
6. Ephemerality and Fragrance: Desire for Divine Immanence