The Jewish Eye
Cultures of the Jews: A New History
Cultures of the Jews: A New History (In three volumes)
Edited by David Biale
Volume 1: Mediterranean Origins - ISBN: 0-8052-1200-0
Volume 2: Diversities of Diaspora - ISBN: 0-8052-1201-9
Volume 3: Modern Encounters - ISBN: 0-8052-1202-7
Schocken Books, New York: 2006
Reviewed by Simon Bonim - April 4, 2006
Cultures of the Jews consits of a collection of outstanding essays on Jewish cultures. These essays have been written by leading scholars in their respective fields, from archaeology and history to folklore and literature. This three-volume paperback edition of Cultures of the Jews: A New History, was originally published as a single volume, hardcover edition. Since its initial publication, this book has been at the forefront of academic study on Jewish culture across the ages, and it has offered general readers with a sweeping, insightful, and edifying foray into diverse ranges of Jewish culture.
Throughout, the authors have sought to not only illuminated various aspects of Jewish culture, across time and in various lands, but they have also sought to provide insights into the interactions between the various types and cultures of the Jewish people, from religious and nonreligious Jews to scholars and women. These essays also provide insights into the interactions between Jews and the non-Jewish world around them. Combined, these essays provide an impressive overview of Jewish culture through the ages and they offer not only food for the intellect, but for the spirit as well. Each essay includes notes and a select bibliography that will serve scholars and general readers interested in pursuing these topics in greater detail.
The three volumes in this new edition are organized chronologically. The best way that I can think to give you a clear understanding of the breadth of material in each volume, and to help you decide which volume or volumes most applies to your area of interest is to simply provide you with a list of the descriptive titles of the essays found in each volumes - so here it goes...
Volume one: Mediterranean Origins
This volume ranges from the Biblical period through to the world of 7th century Islam. The ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods are also covered. In all there are seven essays in this volume:
Volume 2: Diversities of Diaspora
- Imagining the Birth of Ancient Israel: National Metaphors in the Bible
- Israel Among the Nations: Biblical Culture in the Ancient Near East
- Hellenistic Judaism
- Jewish Culture in Greco-Roman Palestine
- Confronting a Christian Empire: Jewish Culture in the World of Byzantium
- Babylonian Rabbinic Culture
- Jewish Culture in the Formative Period of Islam
This volume is devoted to the flowering of Sephardic and Ashkenazic cultures, and details Jewish cultural life during the Golden Age of Islam, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. The seven essays in this volume are:
Volume 3: Modern Encounters
- Merchants and Intellectuals, Rabbis and Poets: Judeo-Arabic Culture in the Golden Age of Islam
- A Letter to a Wayward Teacher: The Transformations of Sephardic Culture in Christian Iberia
- A Jewish-Christian Symbiosis: The Culture of Early Ashkenaz
- Innovative Tradition: Jewish Culture in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
- Families and Their Fortunes: The Jews of Early Modern Italy
- Bom Judesmo: The Western Sephardic Diaspora
- Childbirth and Magic: Jewish Folklore and Material Culture
The final volume in this series concentrates on aspects of modern Jewish culture around the world. There are nine essays in this concluding volume.
This series was edited by David Biale and he has penned the introduction and conclusion to each volume, he also contributed an essay to the series. The book's preface, written by Biale, provides an overview of Jewish Cultural History and Historiography. In addition, the contributors to this outstanding series include such outstanding scholars as Richard I. Cohen, Reuven Firestone, Isaiah Gafni, Benjamin R. Gampel, Erich S. Gruen, Ronald S. Hendel, Ariel Hirschfeld, Elliott Horowitz, Oded Irshai, Yosef Kaplan, Ivan G. Marcus, Erics M. Meyers, Ilana Pardes, Aron Rodrigue, Moshe Rosman, Shalom Sabar, Hagar Salamon, Raymond P. Scheindlin, Yosef Tobi, Lucette Valensi, Stephen J. Whitfield, and Eli Yassif.
- Urban Visibility and Biblical Visions: Jewish Culture in Western and Central Europe in the Modern Age
- A Journey Between Worlds: East European Jewish Culture from the Partitions of Poland to the Holocaust
- The Ottoman Diaspora: The Rise and Fall of Ladino Literary Culture
- Multiculural Visions: The Cultural Tapestry of the Jews of North Africa
- Challenges to Tradition: Jewish Cultures in Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Bukhara
- Religious Interplay on an African State: Ethiopian Jews in Christian Ethiopia
- Locus and Language: Hebrew Culture in Israel: 1890-1990
- The "Other" Israel: Folk Cultures in the Modern State of Israel
- Declarations of Independence: American Jewish Culture in the Twentieth Century
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- A History of the Jews in the Modern World, By Howard M. Sachar.
A general, comprehensive reference guide on Jewish history from the late 1700's through 2004.
- Eyewitness to Jewish History, by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
A concise history of the Jewish people from Biblical times to the modern day, told through the first hand accounts of the people who lived through the events chronicled.
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