書名:CULTURES OF THE JEWS(ISBN=9780805241310)
WITH MORE THAN 100 BLACK-AND-WHITE ILLUSTRATIONSTHROUGHOUT Who are “the Jews”? Scattered over much of the world throughoutmost of their three-thousand-year-old history, are they one peopleor many? How do they resemble and how do they differ from Jews inother places and times? What have their relationships been to thecultures of their neighbors? To address these and similar questions, twenty-three of thefinest scholars of our day—archaeologists, cultural historians,literary critics, art historians , folklorists, and historians ofrelation, all affiliated with major academic institutions in theUnited States, Israel, and France—have contributed their insight toCultures of the Jews. The premise of their endeavor is thatalthough Jews have always had their own autonomous traditions,Jewish identity cannot be considered immutable, the fixed productof either ancient ethnic or religious origins. Rather, it hasshifted and assumed new forms in response to the culturalenvironment in which the Jews have lived. Building their essays on specific cultural artifacts—a poem, aletter, a traveler’s account, a physical object of everyday orritual use—that were made in the period and locale they study, thecontributors describe the cultural interactions among differentJews—from rabbis and scholars to non-elite groups, includingwomen—as well as between Jews and the surrounding non-Jewishworld. Part One, “Mediterranean Origins,” describes the concept of the“People” or “Nation” of Israel that emerges in the Hebrew Bible andthe culture of the Israelites in relation to that of the Canaanitegroups. It goes on to discuss Jewish cultures in the Greco-Romanworld, Palestine during the Byzantine period, Babylonia, and Arabiaduring the formative years of Islam. Part Two, “Diversities of Diaspora,” illuminates Judeo-Arabicculture in the Golden Age of Islam, Sephardic culture as it bloomedfirst if the Iberian Peninsula and later in Amsterdam, theJewish-Christian symbiosis in Ashkenazic Europe and in thePolish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the culture of the Italian Jews ofthe Renaissance period, and the many strands of folklore, magic,and material culture that run through diaspora Jewishhistory. Part Three, “Modern Encounters,” examines communities, ways oflife, and both high and fold culture in Western, Central, andEastern Europe, the Ladino Diaspora, North Africa and the MiddleEast, Ethiopia, Zionist Palestine and the State of Israel, and,finally, the United States. Cultures of the Jews is a landmark, representing the fruits ofthe present generation of scholars in Jewish studies and offering anew foundation upon which all future research into Jewish historywill be based. Its unprecedented interdisciplinary approach willresonate widely among general readers and the scholarly community,both Jewish and non-Jewish, and it will change the terms of thenever-ending debate over what constitutes Jewish identity.
David Biale is the Emanuel RingelblumProfessor of Jewish History at the University of California, Davis.He is the author of Gershom Scholem: Kabbalah andCounter-History, Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History, andEros and the Jews. He is also the editor ofInsider/Outsider: American Jews and Multiculturalism. Helives in Berkeley, California.