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The Anthology in Jewish Literature

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Overview

The anthology is a ubiquitous presence in Jewish literature—arguably its oldest literary genre, going back to the Bible itself, and including nearly all the canonical texts of Judaism: the Mishnah, the Talmud, classical midrash, and the prayerbook. In the Middle Ages, the anthology became the primary medium in Jewish culture for recording stories, poems, and interpretations of classical texts. In modernity, the genre is transformed into a decisive instrument for cultural retrieval and re-creation, especially in works of the Zionist project and in modern Yiddish and Hebrew literature. No less importantly, the anthology has played an indispensable role in the creation of significant fields of research in Jewish studies, including Hebrew poetry, folklore, and popular culture. This volume is the first book to bring together scholarly and critical essays that investigate the anthological character of these works and what might be called the "anthological habit" in Jewish literary culture—the tendency and proclivity for gathering together discrete, sometimes conflicting traditions and stories, and preserving them side by side as though there were no difference, conflict, or ambiguity between them. Indeed, The Anthology in Jewish Literature is the first book to recognize this habit and genre as one of the formative categories in Jewish literature and to investigate its manifold roles. The seventeen essays, each of which focuses on a specific literary work, many of them the great classics of Jewish tradition, consider such questions as: What are the many types of anthologies? How have anthologists, editors, even printers of anthologies been creative shapers of Jewish tradition and culture? What can we learn from their editorial practices? How have politics, gender, and class figured into the making of anthologies? What determinative role has the anthology played in creating the Jewish canon? How has the anthology served, especially in the modern period, to create and recreate Jewish culture. This landmark volume will interest educated laypersons as well as scholars in all areas of Jewish literature and culture, as well as students of world literature and cultural studies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195137514
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Stern is Ruth Meltzer Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Rabbinic Fantasies: Imaginative Narratives from Classical Hebrew Literature (1990), Parables in Midrash: Narrative and Exegesis in Rabbinic Literature (1991), and Midrash and Theory: Ancient Jewish Exegesis and Contemporary Literary Studies (1998).

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Table of Contents

1 The anthology in Jewish literature : an introduction 3
2 Anthology in the Torah and the question of Deuteronomy 15
3 Wisdom and the anthological temper 32
4 Order, sequence, and selection : the Mishnah's anthological choices 53
5 Anthological dimensions of the Babylonian Talmud 81
6 Anthology and polysemy in classical midrash 108
7 The prayerbook (siddur) as an anthology of Judaism 143
8 Yalqut Shim'oni and the medieval midrashic anthology 159
9 The Hebrew narrative anthology in the Middle Ages 176
10 Midrash Rabbah and the medieval collector mentality 196
11 Homo Anthologicus : Micha Joseph Berdyczewski and the anthological genre 211
12 Sefer Ha'aggadah : creating a classic anthology 226
13 The ingathering of traditions : Zionism's anthology projects 244
14 Gender and the anthological tradition in modern Yiddish poetry 259
15 "Our poetry is like an orange grove" : anthologies of Hebrew poetry in Eretz Yisrael 281
16 Anthologizing the vernacular : collections of Yiddish literature in English translation 304
17 Textualizing the tales of the people of the book : folk narrative anthologies and national identity in modern Israel 324
18 The Holocaust according to its anthologists 335
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