“Entangled Histories” (Baumgarten et. al., eds.)

In December, the University of Pennsylvania Press will release Entangled Histories:
Knowledge, Authority, and Jewish Culture in the Thirteenth Century edited by Elisheva Baumgarten (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Ruth Mazo Karras (University of Minnesota), and Katelyn Mesler (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität). The publisher’s description follows:

penn-press-logo.jpgFrom Halakhic innovation to blood libels, from the establishment of new mendicant orders to the institutionalization of Islamicate bureaucracy, and from the development of the inquisitorial process to the rise of yeshivas, universities, and madrasas, the long thirteenth century saw a profusion of political, cultural, and intellectual changes in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. These were informed by, and in turn informed, the religious communities from which they arose. In city streets and government buildings, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived, worked, and disputed with one another, sharing and shaping their respective cultures in the process. The interaction born of these relationships between minority and majority cultures, from love and friendship to hostility and violence, can be described as a complex and irreducible “entanglement.” The contributors to Entangled Histories: Knowledge, Authority, and Jewish Culture in the Thirteenth Century argue that this admixture of persecution and cooperation was at the foundation of Jewish experience in the Middle Ages.

The thirteen essays are organized into three major sections, focusing in turn on the exchanges among intellectual communities, on the interactions between secular and religious authorities, and on the transmission of texts and ideas across geographical, linguistic, and cultural boundaries. Rather than trying to resolve the complexities of entanglement, contributors seek to outline their contours and explain how they endured. In the process, they examine relationships not only among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities but also between communities within Judaism—those living under Christian rule and those living under Muslim rule, and between the Jews of southern and northern Europe. The resulting volume develops a multifaceted account of Jewish life in Europe and the Mediterranean basin at a time when economic, cultural, and intellectual exchange coincided with heightened interfaith animosity.

Stanislawski, “Zionism”

In December, Oxford University Press will release Zionism: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Stanislawski (Columbia University). The publisher’s description follows:

zionismZionism is the nationalist movement affirming Jewish people’s right to self-determination through the establishment of a Jewish national state in its ancient homeland. It is one of the most controversial ideologies in the world. Its supporters laud its success at liberating the Jewish people after millennia of persecution and at securing the creation of Israel. But to its opponents, Zionism relies on a racist ideology culminating in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and is one of the last manifestations of colonial oppression in the world. Since the late 1990s, the centrality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the world news has sharpened this controversy, dramatically politicizing any attempt to understand Zionism and its significance as an intellectual and cultural movement.

In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Stanislawski presents an impartial and disinterested history of Zionist ideology from its origins to the present. Sharp and accessible, this book charts the crucial moments in the ideological development of Zionism, including the emergence of modern Jewish nationalism in early nineteenth century Europe, the founding of the Zionist movement by Theodor Herzl in 1897, the Balfour Declaration, the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, the Six Day War in 1967, the rise of the “Peace Now” movement, and the election of conservative prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Stanislawski’s balanced analysis of these controversial events illuminates why, despite the undeniable success in its goal of creating a Jewish state, profound questions remain today about the long-term viability of Zionist ideology in a rapidly destabilizing Middle East.

Chazan, “From Anti-Judaism to Anti-Semitism”

This month, Cambridge University Press releases From Anti-Judaism to Anti-Semitism:
Ancient and Medieval Christian Constructions of Jewish History by Robert Chazan (New York University). The publisher’s description follows:

from-anti-judiasm-to-anti-semitismFrom its earliest days, Christianity has viewed Judaism and Jews ambiguously. Given its roots within the Jewish community of first-century Palestine, there was much in Judaism that demanded church admiration and praise; however, as Jews continued to resist Christian truth, there was also much that had to be condemned. Major Christian thinkers of antiquity – while disparaging their Jewish contemporaries for rejecting Christian truth – depicted the Jewish past and future in balanced terms, identifying both positives and negatives. Beginning at the end of the first millennium, an increasingly large Jewish community began to coalesce across rapidly developing northern Europe, becoming the object of intense popular animosity and radically negative popular imagery. The portrayals of the broad trajectory of Jewish history offered by major medieval European intellectual leaders became increasingly negative as well. The popular animosity and the negative intellectual formulations were bequeathed to the modern West, where they had tragic consequences in the twentieth century. In this book, Robert Chazan traces the path that began as anti-Judaism, examining how it evolved into antisemitism.

Berman, “Boundaries of Loyalty”

This month, Cambridge University Press releases “Boundaries of Loyalty: Testimony Against Fellow Jews in Non-Jewish Courts,” by Saul Berman (Yeshiva University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Talmudic legislation prescribed penalty for a Jew to testify in a non-Jewish 9781107090651court, against a fellow Jew, to benefit a gentile – for breach of a duty of loyalty to a fellow Jew. Through close textual analysis, Saul Berman explores how Jewish jurists responded when this virtue of loyalty conflicted with values such as Justice, avoidance of desecration of God’s Name, deterrence of crime, defence of self, protection of Jewish community, and the duty to adhere to Law of the Land. Essential for scholars and graduate students in Talmud, Jewish law and comparative law, this key volume details the nature of these loyalties as values within the Jewish legal system, and how the resolution of these conflicts was handled. Berman additionally explores why this issue has intensified in contemporary times and how the related area of ‘Mesirah’ has wrongfully come to be prominently associated with this law regulating testimony.

Gampel, “Anti-Jewish Riots in the Crown of Aragon and the Royal Response, 1391–1392”

In October, Cambridge University Press will release Anti-Jewish Riots in the Crown of Aragon and the Royal Response, 1391-1392 by Benjamin R. Gampel (Jewish Theological Seminary). The publisher’s description follows:

anti-jewish-riotsThe most devastating attacks against the Jews of medieval Christian Europe took place during the riots that erupted, in 1391 and 1392, in the lands of Castile and Aragon. For ten horrific months, hundreds if not thousands of Jews were killed, numerous Jewish institutions destroyed, and many Jews forcibly converted to Christianity. Benjamin Gampel explores why the famed convivencia of medieval Iberian society – in which Christians, Muslims and Jews seemingly lived together in relative harmony – was conspicuously absent. Using extensive archival evidence, this critical volume explores the social, religious, political, and economic tensions at play in each affected town. The relationships, biographies and personal dispositions of the royal family are explored to understand why monarchic authority failed to protect the Jews during these violent months. Gampel’s extensive study is essential for scholars and graduate students of medieval Iberian and Jewish history.

“Rosa Manus (1884-1942)” (Everard and de Haan, eds.)

In November, Brill Publishers will release Rosa Manus: The International Life and Legacy of a Jewish Dutch Feminist edited by Myriam Everard and Francisca de Haan (Central European University). The publisher’s description follows:

rosa-manusRosa Manus (1881–1942) uncovers the life of Dutch feminist and peace activist Rosa Manus, co-founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, vice-president of the International Alliance of Women, and founding president of the International Archives for the Women’s Movement (IAV) in Amsterdam, revealing its rootedness in Manus’s radical secular Jewishness. Because the Nazis looted the IAV (1940) including Manus’s large personal archive, and subsequently arrested (1941) and murdered her (1942), Rosa Manus has been almost unknown to later generations. This collective biography offers essays based on new and in-depth research on pictures and documents from her archives, returned to Amsterdam in 2003, as well as other primary sources. It thus restores Manus to the history from which the Nazis attempted to erase her.

Contributors include: Margot Badran, Mineke Bosch, Ellen Carol DuBois, Myriam Everard, Karen Garner, Dagmar Wernitznig, and Annika Wilmers.

“Hidden in Plain Sight” (Abrams, ed.)

In August, Northwestern University Press released Hidden in Plain Sight: Jews and Jewishness in British Film, Television, and Popular Culture edited by Nathan Abrams (Bangor University, Wales). The publisher’s description follows:

hidden-in-plain-sightHidden in Plain Sight: Jews and Jewishness in British Film, Television, and Popular Culture is the first collection of its kind on this subject. The volume brings together a range of original essays that address different aspects of the role and presence of Jews and Jewishness in British film and television from the interwar period to the present. It constructs a historical overview of the Jewish contribution to British film and television, which has not always been sufficiently acknowledged. Each chapter presents a case study reflective of the specific Jewish experience as well as its particularly British context, with cultural representations of how Jews responded to events from the 1930s and ’40s, including World War II, the Holocaust, and a legacy of antisemitism, through to the new millennium.


Magocsi & Petrovsky-Shtern, “Jews and Ukrainians”

In November, the University of Toronto Press will release Jews and Ukrainians: A Millennium of Co-Existence by Paul Robert Magocsi (University of Toronto) and Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (Northwestern University). The publisher’s description follows:

jews-and-ukraniansThere is much that ordinary Ukrainians do not know about Jews and that ordinary Jews do not know about Ukrainians. As a result, those Jews and Ukrainians who may care about their respective ancestral heritages usually view each other through distorted stereotypes, misperceptions, and biases. This book sheds new light on highly controversial moments of Ukrainian-Jewish relations and argues that the historical experience in Ukraine not only divided ethnic Ukrainians and Jews but also brought them together.

The story of Jews and Ukrainians is presented in an impartial manner through twelve thematic chapters. Among the themes discussed are geography, history, economic life, traditional culture, religion, language and publications, literature and theater, architecture and art, music, the diaspora, and contemporary Ukraine. The book’s easy-to-read narrative is enhanced by 335 full-color illustrations, 29 maps, and several text inserts that explain specific phenomena or address controversial issues. Jews and Ukrainians provides a wealth of information for anyone interested in learning more about the fascinating land of Ukraine and two of its most historically significant peoples.




Stow, “Anna and Tranquillo”

In October, Yale University Press will release Anna and Tranquillo: Catholic Anxiety and Jewish Protest in the Age of Revolutions by Kenneth Stow (Smith College). The publisher’s description follows:

anna-and-tranquilloA historical interpretation of the diary of an eighteenth-century Jewish woman who resisted the efforts of the papal authorities to force her religious conversion

After being seized by the papal police in Rome in May 1749, Anna del Monte, a Jew, kept a diary detailing her captors’ efforts over the next thirteen days to force her conversion to Catholicism. Anna’s powerful chronicle of her ordeal at the hands of authorities of the Roman Catholic Church, originally circulated by her brother Tranquillo in 1793, receives its first English-language translation along with an insightful interpretation by Kenneth Stow of the incident’s legal and historical significance. Stow’s analysis of Anna’s dramatic story of prejudice, injustice, resistance, and survival during her two-week imprisonment in the Roman House of Converts—and her brother’s later efforts to protest state-sanctioned, religion-based abuses—provides a detailed view of the separate forces on either side of the struggle between religious and civil law in the years just prior to the massive political and social upheavals in America and Europe.

Samuels, “The Right to Difference”

In November, the University of Chicago Press will release “The Right to Difference: French Universalism and the Jews,” by Maurice Samuels (Yale University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Universal equality is a treasured political concept in France, but recent anxiety over the country’s Muslim minority has led to an emphasis on a new form of universalism,9780226397054.jpgone promoting loyalty to the nation at the expense of all ethnic and religious affiliations. This timely book offers a fresh perspective on the debate by showing that French equality has not always demanded an erasure of differences. Through close and contextualized readings of the way that major novelists, philosophers, filmmakers, and political figures have struggled with the question of integrating Jews into French society, Maurice Samuels draws lessons about how the French have often understood the universal in relation to the particular.

Samuels demonstrates that Jewish difference has always been essential to the elaboration of French universalism, whether as its foil or as proof of its reach. He traces the development of this discourse through key moments in French history, from debates over granting Jews civil rights during the Revolution, through the Dreyfus Affair and Vichy, and up to the rise of a “new antisemitism” in recent years. By recovering the forgotten history of a more open, pluralistic form of French universalism, Samuels points toward new ways of moving beyond current ethnic and religious dilemmas and argues for a more inclusive view of what constitutes political discourse in France.

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