BOOKS

Possessed Voices - Aural Remains from Modernist Hebrew Theater
Analyzes audio recordings of interwar Hebrew plays, providing a new model for the use of sound in theater studies.

Possessed Voices tells the intriguing story of a largely unknown collection of audio recordings, a valuable tool for understanding historical theater, which preserve performances of modernist interwar Hebrew plays. Seldom used in scholarship, Ruthie Abeliovich focuses on four recordings: a 1931 recording of The Eternal Jew (1919), a 1965 recording of The Dybbuk (1922), a 1961 radio play of The Golem (1925), and a 1952 radio play of Yaakov and Rachel (1928). Abeliovich traces the spoken language of modernist Hebrew theater as grounded in multiple modalities of expressive practices, including spoken Hebrew, Jewish liturgical sensibilities supplemented by Yiddish intonation and other vernacular accents, and in relation to prevalent theatrical forms. The book shows how these performances provided Jewish immigrants from Europe with a venue for lamenting the decline of their home communities and for connecting their memories to the present. Analyzing sonic material against the backdrop of its artistic, cultural, and ideological contexts, Abeliovich develops a critical framework for the study of sound as a discipline in its own right in theater scholarship.

“The author’s focus on historicizing and analyzing sound recordings and radio plays as a means to tackle the pervasive ephemerality problem in theater studies is a novel and valuable approach that represents a significant intervention in the field. These types of sources have had scant attention in theater studies to date, but Abeliovich makes a compelling argument that they belong at the center.” — Debra Caplan, author of Yiddish Empire: The Vilna Troupe, Jewish Theater, and the Art of Itinerancy
Suicide in Uniform: Choice, Duty and Guilt in Israeli Society

Once in a while, the Israeli public learns from the news that a soldier has disappeared or died. Later on, it is reported that the soldier committed suicide. These deaths are usually tended through psychological concepts and procedures. However, a cultural perceptive unfolds the institutional and political aspects of military suicide. Examining the social order in Israel, Suicide in Uniform discusses questions such as: Why has the notion of "suicidality" gained its overwhelming explanatory power? What are the norms that  render commanders and mental health officers the main figures responsible for suicide prevention? What are the rules that prohibit some bereaved parents from receiving military compensations? How is suicide explained in relation to the sacrifice of life demanded of soldiers and in relation to contemporary military missions? This book illuminates seven decades of social negotiations with the meaning of military suicide, as Israeli society shapes its ideals of heroism, individuality and solidarity.

Esoteric Images: Decoding the Late Herat School of Painting
In Esoteric Images: Decoding the Late Herat School of Painting Tawfiq Daʿadli decodes the pictorial language which flourished in the city of Herat, modern Afghanistan, under the rule of the last Timurid ruler, Sultan Husayn Bayqara (r.1469-1506). This study focuses on one illustrated manuscript of a poem entitled Khamsa by the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, kept in the British Library under code Or.6810. Tawfiq Daʿadli decodes the paintings, reveals the syntax behind them and thus deciphers the message of the whole manuscript. The book combines scholarly efforts to interpret theological-political lessons embedded in one of the foremost Persian schools of art against the background of the court dynamic of an influential medieval power in its final years.
Staging Doubt Skepticism in Early Modern European Drama

This volume considers the influential revival of ancient philosophical skepticism in the 16th and early 17th centuries and investigates, from a comparative perspective, its reception in early modern English, Spanish and French drama, dedicating detailed readings to plays by Shakespeare, Calderón, Lope de Vega, Rotrou, Desfontaines, and Cervantes. While all the plays employ similar dramatic devices for "putting skepticism on stage", the study explores how these dramas, however, give different "answers" to the challenges posed by skepticism in relation to their respective historico-cultural and "ideological" contexts.

 

Theatre Cultures within Globalising Empires Looking at Early Modern England and Spain
This volume presents the proceedings of the international conference “Theatre Cultures within Globalising Empires: Looking at Early Modern England and Spain”, held in 2012 as part of the ERC Advanced Grant Project Early Modern European Drama and the Cultural Net (DramaNet). Implementing the concept of culture as a virtual network, it investigates Early modern European drama and its global dissemination. The 12 articles of the volume – all written by experts in the field teaching in the United Kingdom, the USA, Russia, Switzerland, India and Germany – focus on a selection of English and Spanish dramas from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Analysing and comparing motifs, formal parameters as well as plot structures, they discuss the commonalities and differences of Early modern drama in England and Spain.
Gronemann, Sammy: Gesammelte Dramen. Collected Works, Vol. 1
For the first time, Volume 1 compiles all extant dramatic works by Sammy Gronemann published in German. They include the Purim play Haman’s Flight written for Martin Buber (1900), Gronemann’s first successful comedy The Wise Man and the Fool, written around 1940 in Tel Aviv, a work that, after Gronemann’s death, went on in Hebrew translation and with songs by Nathan Alterman to become one of the first successful musicals in the Israeli theater.
Journal of Classical Sociology Special Issue: Reclaiming Arnold Van Gennep’s Les rites de passage (1909)
Dr. Nitzan Rothem, Dr. Ruthie Abeliovich, Dr. Orit Gazit, and Dr. Moshe Bildshtein. 11/2018. Journal of Classical Sociology Special Issue: Reclaiming Arnold Van Gennep’s Les rites de passage (1909). Abstract
The special issue of Journal of Classical Sociology is an outcome of MBSF activities. Edited by Nitzan Rothem and Shlomo Fischer, this volume points to the significance of Arnold van Gennep's  Les rites de passage for contemporary social thought and research. MBSF articles include: Orit Gazit on migration and van Gennep's theory of the limit, Ruthie Abeliovich on Les rites de passage's contribution to the field of Performance Studies, Moshe Blidstein on the theoretical problem of purity, and Nitzan Rothem on Turner's and van Gennep's frameworks vis-à-vis contemporary warfare. Also in this volume: Ilana Silber on gift theory, Nicole Hochner on rhythm and social kinesis and Harvey Goldberg on early 20th-century social thought.  
Historical Dictionary of the Mongol World Empire
Paul D. Buell and Francesca Fiaschetti. 5/2018. Historical Dictionary of the Mongol World Empire. Abstract

The Historical Dictionary of the Mongol World Empire examines the history of the Mongol Empire, the pre-imperial era of Mongolian history that preceded it, and the various Mongol successor states that continued to dominate Eurasia long after the breakdown of Mongol unity.

This second edition contains a chronology, an introduction, appendixes, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 900 cross-referenced entries on important personalities, politics, economy, foreign relations, religion, and culture of the Mongol Empire. This book is an excellent resource for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about the Mongol Empire.

Infertility in Early Modern England
Daphna Oren-Magidor. 9/2017. “Infertility in Early Modern England”. Abstract
This book (by Palgrave Macmillan UK ) explores the experiences of people who struggled with fertility problems in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England. Motherhood was central to early modern women’s identity and was even seen as their path to salvation. To a lesser extent, fatherhood played an important role in constructing proper masculinity. When childbearing failed this was seen not only as a medical problem but as a personal emotional crisis. Infertility in Early Modern England highlights the experiences of early modern infertile couples: their desire for children, the social stigmas they faced, and the ways that social structures and religious beliefs gave meaning to infertility. It also describes the methods of treating fertility problems, from home-remedies to water cures. Offering a multi-faceted view, the book demonstrates the centrality of religion to every aspect of early modern infertility, from understanding to treatment. It also highlights the ways in which infertility unsettled the social order by placing into question the gendered categories of femininity and masculinity.
Purity, Community, and Ritual in Early Christian Literature

Oxford University Press

Moshe Blidstein Oxford Studies in the Abrahamic Religions Charts the development of a multifaceted discourse of purity in early Christianity, drawing on, rejecting, and reworking previous traditions Provides analysis of many dimensions of ancient Christian purity, including dietary restrictions, death pollution, ancient psychology and demonology, sexuality, and church rituals Focuses on the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, and the writings of Paul, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen

Praxagoras of Cos on Arteries, Pulse and Pneuma. Fragments and Interpretation

The distinction that Praxagoras of Cos (4th-3rd c. BC) made between arteries and veins and his views on pulsation and pneuma are two significant turning points in the history of ideas and medicine. In this book Orly Lewis presents the fragmentary evidence for this topic and offers a fresh analysis of Praxagoras’ views on the soul and the functions of the heart and pneuma. In so doing, she highlights the empirical basis of Praxagoras’ views and his engagement with earlier medical debates and with Aristotle’s physiology. The study consists of an edition and translation of the relevant fragments (some absent from the standard 1958 edition) followed by a commentary and a synthetic analysis of Praxagoras’ views and their place in the history of medicine and ideas.

(Studies in Ancient Medicine 48; Brill: Leiden, 2017)

Motor/Reise. Basiswissen für die Medienpraxis
Evelyn Runge and Hektor Haarkötter. 1/2016. Motor/Reise. Basiswissen für die Medienpraxis. Abstract

Mobility is one of the principle topics of humans, be it as nomads in former days, be it as frequent travellers for business or in leisure nowadays. Early in history, voyagers wrote their experiences down, but only very late travel stories become a respected desk in journalistic media. As special-interest-journalism it is and was highly coined by economic influence. The new book "Motor/Reise" - travel- and motor journalism - is part of the series "Journalismus Bibliothek", released by the renowned publisher Herbert von Halem Verlag, Cologne, Germany. The authors picture the history of travel- and mobility journalism from the ancient world until today. They consider new developments due to digital journalism - for instance travel blogs and mobile reporting -, ethical challenges, and the special role of photography in travel- and motorjournalism. Examples of best practice show freshmen and old-stagers how to engage in modern travel- and mobility journalism, and how to deal self-confidently with demands of makers, providers, and advertisers. Evelyn Runge and Hektor Haarkötter have intensivley worked as journalists themselves and clearly enrich their writing from these experiences.

(Herbert von Halem Verlag, Cologne ,Germany, 2016)

http://www.halem-verlag.de/motor-reise/

Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust

In the aftermath of World War II, virtually all European countries struggled with the dilemma of citizens who had collaborated with Nazi occupiers. Jewish communities in particular faced the difficult task of confronting collaborators among their own ranks—those who had served on Jewish councils, worked as ghetto police, or acted as informants. European Jews established their own tribunals—honor courts—for dealing with these crimes, while Israel held dozens of court cases against alleged collaborators under a law passed two years after its founding. In Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust, editors Laura Jockusch and Gabriel N. Finder bring together scholars of Jewish social, cultural, political, and legal history to examine this little-studied and fascinating postwar chapter of Jewish history.

The volume begins by presenting the rationale for punishing wartime collaborators and purging them from Jewish society. Contributors go on to examine specific honor court cases in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria, Poland, the Netherlands, and France. One essay also considers the absence of an honor court in Belgium. Additional chapters detail the process by which collaborators were accused and brought to trial, the treatment of women in honor courts, and the unique political and social place of honor courts in the nascent state of Israel. Taken as a whole, the essays in Jewish Honor Courts illustrate the great caution and integrity brought to the agonizing task of identifying and punishing collaborators, a process that helped survivors to reclaim their agency, reassert their dignity, and work through their traumatic experiences.

For many years, the honor courts have been viewed as a taboo subject, leaving their hundreds of cases unstudied. Jewish Honor Courts uncovers this forgotten chapter of Jewish history and shows it to be an integral part of postwar Jewish rebuilding. Scholars of Jewish, European, and Israeli history as well as readers interested in issues of legal and social justice will be grateful for this detailed volume.

Finalist of the 2015 National Jewish Book Awards


	Conrad, Faulkner, and the Problem of Nonsense
Maurice Ebileeni explores the thematic and stylistic problems in the major novels of Joseph Conrad and William Faulkner through Jacques Lacan's psychoanalytic theories. Against the background of the cultural, scientific, and historic changes that occurred at the turn of the 20th century, describing the landscape of ruins bequeathed to humanists by the forefathers of the Counter-Enlightenment movement (Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, and Baudelaire), Ebileeni proposes that Conrad and Faulkner wrote against impossible odds, metaphorically standing at the edge of a chaotic abyss that initially would spill over into the challenges of literary production. Both authors discovered that underneath, behind, or within the intuitively comprehensible narrative layers there exists a nonsensical dimension, constantly threatening to dissolve any attempt at producing intelligible meaning.Ebileeni argues that in Conrad's and Faulkner's major novels, the quest for meaning in confronting the prospects of nonsense becomes a necessary symptom of human experience to both avoid and engage the entropy of modern life.(New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015)
What kind of Body? The Affects of the MinGuf process on intersexed peoples' lives
Intersexed people are born with many sexual characteristics which differ from the typical male/female bodies. Usually intersexed people are concealed from the public discourse and living with secrecy. How do intersexed people experience their lives? How do they live in the Israeli society or in any society with intersexed bodies?
This book analyzes intersexed bodies' variations; it describes the bio-medical discourse on intersexuality and the medical treatment exists in Israel and in many countries. It also follows the constant conflict between the body and the social norms. While the human body undefinable, multi-characteristic and infinite being, the social norms and cultural values reproduce and sustain the ideology of two possible human bodies, and constrain natural variation of soma-sexual developments. This conflict establishes the MinGuf process (soma-normalization process), in which the medical system normalizing intersexed bodies to fit to one sex/one gender category.
The MinGuf process includes diagnosing intersex bodies, shaping it through cosmetic surgeries and hormonal replacement therapy and follows it through time. Secrecy exists and plays significant role in the MinGuf process and together with the shaping practices intersexed people supposed to be in normal male/female bodies and heterosexual identities. Are they? Is it possible to normalize intersex bodies? How do parents of intersex people in Israel deals with the MinGuf process? on these questions and many more this book tries to answer in order to expose the crucial price intersexed people pay in order to exist and live in society who worship (imaginable) norms.
Prioritizing Death and Society: The Archaeology of Chalcolithic and Contemporary Cemeteries in the Southern Levant

Death, grief and funerary practices are central to any analysis of social, anthropological, artistic and religious worlds. However, cemeteries - the key conceptual and physical site for death - have rarely been the focus of archaeological research. 'Prioritizing Death and Society' examines the structure, organisation and significance of cemeteries in the Southern Levant, one of the key areas for both migration and settlement in both prehistory and antiquity. Spanning 6,000 years, from the Chalcolithic to the present day, 'Prioritizing Death and Society' presents new research to analyse the formation and regional variation in cemeteries. By examining both ancient and present-day - nationally Jewish - cemeteries, the study reveals the commonalities and differences in the ways in which death has been and continues to be ritualised, memorialised and understood.

“A much-needed analysis of the rich dataset for Chalcolithic burials. Comparative analysis of more recent cemeteries highlights aspects of Chalcolithic activity that might otherwise have escaped comment. Nativ has made an important contribution: it deserves a wide audience.”
– Graham Philip, University of Durham
“Elegantly illustrates the power of the comparative approach and the methods of archaeology to generate new insights into human societies of the past and present. It is essential reading for all archaeologists.”
– Katina T. Lillios, University of Iowa, USA
“In this disciplined, boundary-transgressing study, Nativ offers archaeologists a profoundly thoughtful gift, showing how material discourses and negotiations surrounding death reveal deep truths about the societies that produced them.” – Raphael Greenberg, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Mysticism and Philosophy in Al-Andalus: Ibn Masarra, Ibn Al- Arab and the Ism L Tradition
Muslim Spain gave rise to two unusual figures in the mystical tradition of Islam: Ibn Masarra and Ibn al- Arab. Representing, respectively, the beginning and the pinnacle of Islamic mysticism in al-Andalus, Ibn Masarra and Ibn al- Arab embody in their writings a type of mystical discourse which is quite different from the Sufi discourse that evolved in the Islamic east during the 9th-12th centuries. In "Mysticism and Philosophy in al-Andalus," Michael Ebstein points to the Ism l tradition as one possible source which helped shape the distinct intellectual world from which both Ibn Masarra and Ibn al- Arab derived. By analyzing their writings and the works of various Ism l authors, Michael Ebstein unearths the many links that connect the thought of Ibn Masarra and Ibn al- Arab to the Ism l tradition
Routes of War: The World of Movement in the Confederate South

The Civil War thrust millions of men and women-rich and poor, soldiers and civilians, enslaved and free-onto the roads of the South. During four years of war, Southerners lived on the move. In the hands of Yael A. Sternhell, movement becomes a radically new means to perceive the full trajectory of the Confederacy's rise, struggle, and ultimate defeat.

By focusing not only on the battlefield and the home front but also on the roads and woods that connected the two, this pioneering book investigates the many roles of bodies in motion. We watch battalions of young men as they march to the front, galvanizing small towns along the way, creating the Confederate nation in the process. We follow deserters straggling home and refugees fleeing enemy occupation, both hoping to escape the burdens of war. And in a landscape turned upside down, we see slaves running toward freedom, whether hundreds of miles away or just beyond the plantation's gate.

Based on a vast array of documents, from slave testimonies to the papers of Confederate bureaucrats to the private letters of travelers from all walks of life, Sternhell unearths the hidden connections between physical movements and their symbolic meanings, individual bodies and entire armies, the reinvention of a social order and the remaking of private lives. Movement, as means of liberation and as vehicle of subjugation, lay at the heart of the human condition in the wartime South.

Collect and Record!: Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe

This book describes the vibrant activity of survivors who founded Jewish historical commissions and documentation centers in Europe immediately after the Second World War. In the first postwar decade, these initiatives collected thousands of Nazi documents along with testimonies, memoirs, diaries, songs, poems, and artifacts of Jewish victims. They pioneered in developing a Holocaust historiography that placed the experiences of Jews at the center and used both victim and perpetrator sources to describe the social, economic, and cultural aspects of the everyday life and death of European Jews under the Nazi regime.

This book is the first in-depth monograph on these survivor historians and the organizations they created. A comparative analysis, it focuses on France, Poland, Germany, Austria, and Italy, analyzing the motivations and rationales that guided survivors in chronicling the destruction they had witnessed, while also discussing their research techniques, archival collections, and historical publications. It reflects growing attention to survivor testimony and to the active roles of survivors in rebuilding their postwar lives. It also discusses the role of documenting, testifying, and history writing in processes of memory formation, rehabilitation, and coping with trauma.

Jockusch finds that despite differences in background and wartime experiences between the predominantly amateur historians who created the commissions, the activists found documenting the Holocaust to be a moral imperative after the war, the obligation of the dead to the living, and a means for the survivors to understand and process their recent trauma and loss. Furthermore, historical documentation was vital in the pursuit of postwar justice and was deemed essential in counteracting efforts on the part of the Nazis to erase their wartime crimes. The survivors who created the historical commissions were the first people to study the development of Nazi policy towards the Jews and also to document Jewish responses to persecution, a topic that was largely ignored by later generations of Holocaust scholars.

Winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Awards
Winner of the 2013 Sybil Halpern Milton Book Prize
Finalist of the 2013 Yad Vashem International Book Prize

The Iranian Talmud: Reading the Bavli in Its Sasanian Context

Although the Babylonian Talmud, or Bavli, has been a text central and vital to the Jewish canon since the Middle Ages, the context in which it was produced has been poorly understood. Delving deep into Sasanian material culture and literary remains, Shai Secunda pieces together the dynamic world of late antique Iran, providing an unprecedented and accessible overview of the world that shaped the Bavli.

Secunda unites the fields of Talmudic scholarship with Old Iranian studies to enable a fresh look at the heterogeneous religious and ethnic communities of pre-Islamic Iran. He analyzes the intercultural dynamics between the Jews and their Persian Zoroastrian neighbors, exploring the complex processes and modes of discourse through which these groups came into contact and considering the ways in which rabbis and Zoroastrian priests perceived one another. Placing the Bavli and examples of Middle Persian literature side by side, the Zoroastrian traces in the former and the discursive and Talmudic qualities of the latter become evident. The Iranian Talmud introduces a substantial and essential shift in the field, setting the stage for further Irano-Talmudic research

Meditations on Authority

This volume, the first in the Notebook Series of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows, addresses the notion of authority in a set of multi-disciplinary and inter-cultural perspectives. The essays share a meditative quality, perhaps more accessible than the usual academic format would allow: a great mathematician reflects on the kind of authority mathematical truths can (and cannot) claim; historians explore shifting forms of institutional authority in different historical contexts; a linguist probes the authority implicit in the use of the second person singular in modern Hebrew oral narratives by soldiers serving in the territories; a political scientist offers an unsettling account of the largely fictive authority implicit in democratic systems and the role of science in rationalizing that authority; and so on. Many of the essays embody or give voice to the ambivalence endemic to issues of authority, which habitually arouses inner protest and resistance that can become authoritative in their own right. Wide-ranging, irreverent, and often highly personal in tone, these essays reflect the rich conversations and the sheen of intellection at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows.

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Revenge, Retribution, Reconciliation: A Cross-Disciplinary Anthology

This volume of the Notebook Series of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows explores how explore how individuals, groups, and societies in a variety of cultural contexts, political settings, and time periods respond to the perpetration of injustices.

Approaching the concepts of revenge, retribution, and reconciliation from interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives, it opens a fruitful discussion among scholars of history, literature, psychology, biology, political science, communications, sociology, religious studies, law, and philosophy. The book investigates how social groups reach and maintain an equilibrium between an emotional thirst for an immediate and unmediated response to injustices and societies’ need to adjudicate measures and sanctions that seem proportional to the breech of justice.
This volume is the third in the Martin Buber Society of Fellows Notebook Series

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Forgetting: An Interdisciplinary Conversation

In the ongoing flood of studies of memory in its manifold forms and meanings, the no less powerful subject of forgetting tends to be forgotten. We often think of forgetting as a passive process, something that simply “happens” to us and to other living beings; but many of the studies in this inter-disciplinary volume reveal the active and even creative nature of forgetting, its positive features, and its varied roles in a wide series of cultural and intercultural templates. Neuroscientists joined with historians, philologists, a linguist, philosophers, sociologists and anthropologists, an archaeologist and an artist in the two joint workshops that generated this volume, under the auspices of the Zukunftskolleg at the University of Konstanz and the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The lively exchanges in the workshops are reflected in the comments and discussion that follow many of these experimental, meditative essays.

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