Defining Jewish Difference: From Antiquity to the Present by Professor Beth A. Berkowitz

By Professor Beth A. Berkowitz

This ebook lines the interpretive occupation of Leviticus 18:3, a verse that forbids Israel from imitating its friends. Beth A. Berkowitz indicates that historic, medieval, and glossy exegesis of this verse presents an important backdrop for modern day conversations approximately Jewish assimilation and minority identification extra ordinarily. the tale of Jewishness that this e-book tells may possibly shock many glossy readers for whom spiritual identification revolves round ritual and worship. In Lev. 18:3's tale of Jewishness, sexual perform and cultural behavior as a substitute loom huge. The readings during this booklet are on a micro-level, yet their implications are far-ranging: Berkowitz transforms either our inspiration of Bible-reading and our experience of the way Jews have outlined Jewishness.

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The Tosafists refer to the followers of Rashi (Solomon ben Isaac, 1040–1105, France) who recorded and redacted the discussions of their academies from the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, mainly in Germany and France. In the Tosafists’ treatment of the prohibition against “their laws,” I argue for a “Judaization of reason” parallel to what Anna Abulafia has called a “Christianization of reason” in twelfth-century Europe. The Ran, an honorific acrostic for Nissim ben Reuben Gerondi (ca. 1310–ca.

36 Leviticus 19 takes up these themes as well (Lev. 19:26 features the diviner and soothsayer; Lev. 19:31 ghosts and familiar spirits). €196–200. €412. €480–481, on the innovative nature of Leviticus 18 and 20’s incest taboos. € 441, n. €442–443. 35 40 Defining Jewish Difference conclusions: the interpretive path of leviticus 18 These reconstructions remain tentative, but we can still safely conclude from the shared features of Exodus 23, Deuteronomy 12, Deuteronomy 18, and Leviticus 18 that there are recurring formulations of Israelite separatism in the Pentateuch, all of which belong most generally to the genre of law but which are framed by Israel’s (shifting) national narrative, and each of which encodes a unique set of ideologies within intricate literary patterns.

Another comment in the Sifra exploits the ambiguities within Leviticus 18 to offer a relatively restrictive reading of Lev. 18:3’s scope that sees its separatism targeting formal law. Philo’s allegorical exegesis, we will see in the next chapter, shifts the terms of distinctiveness altogether, and that too is illuminated by deeper engagement with Lev. 18:3’s details. Familiarity with the literary fissures within and among the biblical passages allows us to appreciate the choices made by their interpreters and foregrounds the ideology that drives those choices.

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