To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
This paper compares rabbinic and patristic stories of repenting prostitutes from late antiquity, showing that while some narrative structures remain fixed in both traditions, namely, the prostitute's story framed within that of a man, a competition between the man and the prostitute over the leading role, the perpetually open path to repentance, and more, other structures vary or take a different meaning. These include the gender identity of the desiring subject, the spiritual principle behind the story, the gender of the repentant, and his/her fate. The article offers a definition of “the repenting prostitute” as a tale type, as well as close readings in its rabbinic ecotype, in order to understand if, how, and why the Jewish and Christian traditions take different paths of meaning-making using similar narrative forms.
The translation and mediation of literature can play an important role in the ideologically charged transfer of ideas between cultures. This paper approaches the English translation of Hebrew literature as a subtle form of cultural appropriation, whereby agents such as literary critics, scholars, editors, and translators mediated Israeli notions and narratives into Jewish American literary discourse. The article discusses forms of mediation of Hebrew literature in the 1960s and 1970s that promoted a more progressive, yet less secular, notion of Judaism than that depicted in the source works, and subdued an antidiasporic view of Jewish identity. It shows how high moral standards were represented as an inherent feature of Judaism, and Israeli society was portrayed in a more positive moral light than in the sometimes self-critical source texts. American Jewish readership was thus introduced to a notion of Judaism that the agents assumed would be “easier to stomach” than that of the source literary works, and could serve to reinforce some of the tenets of contemporary American Jewish identity.
This article discusses the ways scholars have outlined the process of Jewish adaptation (or lack of it) from their Christian surroundings in northern Europe during the High Middle Ages. Using the example of penitential fasting, the first two sections of the article describe medieval Jewish practices and some of the approaches that have been used to explain the similarity between medieval Jewish and contemporary Christian customs. The last two sections of the article suggest that in addition to looking for texts that connect between Jewish and Christian thought and beliefs behind these customs, it is useful to examine what medieval Jews and Christians saw of each other's customs living in close urban quarters. Finally, the article suggests that when shaping medieval Jewish and Christian identity, the differences emphasized in shared everyday actions and visible practice were no less important than theological distinctions. As part of the discussion throughout the article, the terminology used by scholars to describe the process of Jewish appropriation from the local surroundings is described, focusing on terms such as “influence” and “inward acculturation,” as well as “appropriation.”
It was the accepted practice to issue rulings in cases argued by Tannaim in the Mishnah and elsewhere on a case-by-case basis. Beginning in the time of Rabbi Yoḥanan, the manner in which rulings were given changed fundamentally, to jurisprudential rules. The new style of rulings brought with it a need to establish additional rules to supplement the basic principles produced by Rabbi Yoḥanan and his school. A highly surprising phenomenon that emerged from the demand for jurisprudential rules was the transformation of dicta specifying the law in specific cases into rules to be followed on a general basis. In this essay, I seek to characterize these specific jurisprudential dicta and to identify a number of legal principles that initially were nothing more than specific rulings, yet were then altered in significance and scope as a result of their inclusion in introductory works and compendia of jurisprudential rules.
When Hans Herzl, son of Theodor Herzl, converted to Christianity in 1924 and committed suicide in 1930, he challenged the boundaries of the Zionist movement. Zionist responses to Hans's conversion and suicide reveal underlying and conflicting assumptions regarding the religious, cultural, and ethnic boundaries of Jewish nationalism, both in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as in future Israeli state policy. This article traces responses in the press and among leadership of the World Zionist Organization to Hans's conversion, as well as subsequent reactions to his suicide. To some, Hans's anomalous life threatened Jewish unity and the Zionist movement; to others, Hans deserved not only a biography but a meaningful place in Zionist discourse. These conflicting definitions and priorities of Zionism in the 1920s and 1930s resurface within the legal and bureaucratic institutions of Israeli statehood, particularly in the 1962 Supreme Court case Rufeisen v. Ministry of the Interior.
This article argues that the well-known debate about the obligatory nature of the evening prayer, attributed to tannaitic authorities in both the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds, is in fact a Babylonian invention. The article documents the significant evidence that the evening prayer was assumed to be obligatory in tannaitic and early amoraic texts and then argues that the literary context of the debate in both Talmuds strongly suggests Babylonian origins for the debate. Dating the debate is more complex, but it seems relatively unlikely that this represents a pre-amoraic Babylonian tradition. Finally, the article considers the motivation for such a development in amoraic Babylonia and suggests that antiquarian interest in the temple may be the likeliest avenue to pursue.
This article is an anthropological history of the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony in the Yishuv and Israel of the 1940s and the 1950s, when this ceremony radically grew in terms of the space, time, and economic resources devoted to it, as well as expanded to include girls. To explain that shift, I suggest distinguishing classic rites of initiation from the system of life-cycle ceremonies typical of modern consumer culture, which emphasizes the transition between temporal markers rather than social statuses and imposes no task on the birthday celebrant. The article reconstructs the process by which, during the 1940s and the 1950s, the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony came to function more as an elaborate birthday party than as a rite of initiation. The historical reconstruction demonstrates how, during the late Mandate period and early years of statehood, a new grassroots Israeli culture emerged, shaped by the accommodation of Western consumer culture to Jewish traditions rather than by Zionist ideology or established religion.
Jewish women in medieval Egypt made extensive use of Muslim legal venues. By amassing and analyzing a sizable corpus of Geniza documents and contemporary responsa, this study explores how women accessed these venues, why they did so, and the response of the Jewish community. Complementing the traditional explanations given to Jewish use of Muslim legal venues, such as legal difference and greater enforceability, I argue that Muslim legal forums offered Jewish women a way of resisting the pressures they often faced in Jewish communal institutions and at home. For its part, the Jewish leadership used a variety of measures to prevent women from using Muslim legal venues; women who persisted were castigated more harshly than men were. This study also sheds light on Jewish women's points of contact with broader Islamic society and the relationship between Jews and the Islamic state.