Elie Wiesel: Jewish, Literary, and Moral Perspectives

Overview

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel, best known for his writings on the
Holocaust, is also the accomplished author of novels, essays, tales, and plays as well as portraits of seminal figures in Jewish life and experience. In this volume, leading scholars in the fields of
Biblical, Rabbinic, Hasidic, Holocaust, and literary studies offer fascinating and innovative analyses of Wiesel's texts as well as illuminating commentaries on his ...

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Elie Wiesel: Jewish, Literary, and Moral Perspectives

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Overview

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel, best known for his writings on the
Holocaust, is also the accomplished author of novels, essays, tales, and plays as well as portraits of seminal figures in Jewish life and experience. In this volume, leading scholars in the fields of
Biblical, Rabbinic, Hasidic, Holocaust, and literary studies offer fascinating and innovative analyses of Wiesel's texts as well as illuminating commentaries on his considerable influence as a teacher and as a moral voice for human rights. By exploring the varied aspects of Wiesel's multifaceted career—his texts on the Bible, the Talmud, and Hasidism as well as his literary works, his teaching, and his testimony—this thought-provoking volume adds depth to our understanding of the impact of this important man of letters and towering international figure.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Elie Wiesel is best known for his humanitarian efforts and his memoirs detailing his experience as a Jew during the Holocaust—especially in the Night Trilogy, comprising Night, Dawn, and Day. However, the Nobel laureate’s oeuvre is far richer than that, as evidenced by this illuminating collection of 24 academic essays covering Wiesel’s interpretations of the Bible, retellings of Talmudic stories, his role in Neo-Hasidism, his post-Holocaust theology, and more. Lay readers put off by academese (e.g., “Rabbinic interpretation... is not simply the free exercise of imagination but always in itself a kind of physiognomy of the biblical text”) need not apply, though dedicated scholars will relish the thoughtful exegesis from experts such as Everett Fox, Arthur Green, and Irving Greenberg. Nancy Harrowitz, a professor at Boston University, weighs in with perhaps the most intriguing offering; in “Lot’s Wife and ‘A Plea for the Dead’: Commemoration, Memory, and Shame,” she examines Wiesel’s idea that the familiar Biblical figure’s choice to look back and engage with the past was a heroic one, and not an act of mindless disregard for the consequences. Indeed, this is a valuable look back on Wiesel’s heroic authorial career. (May)
author of Women's Holocaust Writing: Memory and Imagination - S. Lillian Kremer

"Navigating deftly among Wiesel's varied scholarly and literary works, the authors view his writings from religious, social, political, and literary perspectives in highly accessible prose that will well serve a broad and diverse readership" —S. Lillian Kremer, author of Women's Holocaust Writing: Memory and Imagination

Examiner.com

"Within this book, prominent scholars in the fields of Biblical, Rabbinic, Hasidic, Holocaust, and literary studies offer fascinating and innovative analyses of Wiesel's texts as well as enlightening commentaries on his considerable influence as a teacher and as a moral voice for human rights. By exploring the varied aspects of Wiesel's multifaceted career—his texts on the Bible, the Talmud, and Hasidism as well as his literary works, his teaching, and his testimony—this thought-provoking volume adds depth to our understanding of the impact of this important man of letters and towering international figure." —Examiner.com

Jewish Book World

"There is no getting our minds entirely around this immense figure, but the editors come pretty close....This book is an absolute requirement for all university libraries and Jewish institutions; a pleasure for any educated reader." —Jewish Book World

From the Publisher
"Close, scholarly readings of a master storyteller’s fiction, memoirs and essays suggest his uncommon breadth and depth...Criticism that enhances the appreciation of readers well-versed in the author’s work." —Kirkus Reviews

"Within this book, prominent scholars in the fields of Biblical, Rabbinic, Hasidic,
Holocaust, and literary studies offer fascinating and innovative analyses of Wiesel's texts as well as enlightening commentaries on his considerable influence as a teacher and as a moral voice for human rights. By exploring the varied aspects of Wiesel's multifaceted career—his texts on the
Bible, the Talmud, and Hasidism as well as his literary works, his teaching, and his testimony—this thought-provoking volume adds depth to our understanding of the impact of this important man of letters and towering international figure." —Examiner.com

"By exploring the varied aspects of Wiesel's multifaceted career—his texts on the Bible, the Talmud, morality and Hasidism as well as his literary works, his teaching, and his testimony—this thought provoking volume adds considerable depth to our understanding of his impact." —New York Journal of Books

"Navigating deftly among Wiesel's varied scholarly and literary works, the authors view his writings from religious, social, political, and literary perspectives in highly accessible prose that will well serve a broad and diverse readership" —S. Lillian Kremer, author of
Women's Holocaust Writing: Memory and Imagination

"[An] illuminating collection of 24 academic essays... [and a]
valuable look back on Wiesel’s heroic authorial career." —Publishers Weekly

"There is no getting our minds entirely around this immense figure, but the editors come pretty close....This book is an absolute requirement for all university libraries and Jewish institutions; a pleasure for any educated reader." —Jewish Book World

New York Journal of Books

"By exploring the varied aspects of Wiesel's multifaceted career—his texts on the Bible, the Talmud, morality and Hasidism as well as his literary works, his teaching, and his testimony—this thought provoking volume adds considerable depth to our understanding of his impact." —New York Journal of Books

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
Close, scholarly readings of a master storyteller's fiction, memoirs and essays suggest his uncommon breadth and depth. The 1986 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, memoirist and novelist Wiesel (Open Heart, 2012, etc.) has been a profound thinker and prolific writer whose work reflects his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. This collection encompasses "a broader range of critical perception," showing how his Hasidic faith, his biblical interpretations and his meditations on the silence and solitude of God illuminate the central focus of his work on the Holocaust--on which the author has written about so often while maintaining the impossibility of writing about it. Among the essays, titles such as "Alone with God: Wiesel's Writings on the Bible," "Wiesel in the Context of Neo-Hasidism" and "Wiesel's Contribution to a Christian Understanding of Judaism" reflect the variety of perspectives through which scholars approach his work, while the literary criticism of "The Trauma of History in The Gates of the Forest" attests to the multifaceted genius of his fiction. Since Wiesel has already been so widely written about and justly celebrated, this attempt to fill some of the cracks and broaden the discussion requires that readers already have a wide and deep familiarity with the author's work. "[Wiesel] has been able to place the questions before the public in his own narrative form, that of the teacher," writes Everett Fox (Judaic and Biblical Studies/Clark Univ.). "The model here is not the lecturer, nor the resident intellectual, nor the pedant. Rather, Wiesel brings his audience along with the flair of a storyteller, but a storyteller who knows how to go into the audience to pose the questions that are on, or should be on, everyone's mind." Criticism that enhances the appreciation of readers well-versed in the author's work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253008053
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2013
  • Series: Jewish Literature and Culture Series
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven T. Katz is Director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies and holds the
Shirley Slater Chair in Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Boston University. He is editor of The
Shtetl: New Evaluations and The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Theology.

Alan
Rosen teaches Holocaust literature at the International School for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem,
and other Holocaust study centers. He is author of Sounds of Defiance: The Holocaust,
Multilingualism, and the Problem of English and The Wonder of Their Voices: The 1946 Holocaust
Interviews with David Boder.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction \ Alan Rosen
Part 1. Bible and
Talmud
1. Alone with God: Wiesel's Writings on the Bible \ Joel Rosenberg
2.
Wiesel as Interpreter of Biblical Narrative \ Everett Fox
3. Wiesel and Rabbi Akiva
\ Joseph Polak
4. Wiesel and the Stories of the Rabbis \ Reuven
Kimelman
Part 2. Hasidism
5. Wiesel in the Context of Neo-Hasidism \
Arthur Green
6. Reflections on Wiesel's Hasidic Tales \ Steven T. Katz
7.
Yearning for Sacred Place: Wiesel's Hasidic Tales and Postwar Hasidism \ Nehemia Polen

8. The Hasidic Spark and the Holocaust \ Gershon Greenberg
Part 3. Belles
Lettres
9. Lot's Wife and "A Plea for the Dead": Commemoration, Memory, and Shame \
Nancy Harrowitz
10. The Storyteller in History: Shoah Memory and the Idea of the Novel
\ Sara R. Horowitz
11. Wiesel's Post-Auschwitz Shema Yisrael \ Alan L.
Berger
12. Dreams and Dialogues: Wiesel's Holocaust Memories \ Ellen S. Fine

13. The Trauma of History in The Gates of the Forest \ Victoria Aarons
14. Victims,
Executioners, and the Ethics of Political Violence: A Levinasian Reading of Dawn \ Jonathan
Druker
Part 4. Testimony
15. Dialectic Living and Thinking: Wiesel as Storyteller and Interpreter of the Shoah \ Irving Greenberg
16. Wiesel's Aggadic Outcry \
David Patterson
17. Whose Testimony? The Confusion of Fiction with Fact \ Lawrence L.
Langer
18. Wiesel's Testament \ Oren Baruch Stier
19. Améry, Levi,
Wiesel: The Futility of Holocaust Testimony \ Alvin H. Rosenfeld
Part 5.
Legacies
20. With Shadows and With Song: Learning, Listening, Teaching \ Alan
Rosen
21. Teaching through Words, Teaching through Silence: Education after (and about)
Auschwitz \ Reinhold Boschki
22. Toward a Methodology of Wonder \ Ariel
Burger
23. Wiesel's Contribution to a Christian Understanding of Judaism \ John K.
Roth
24. Conscience \ Irwin Cotler
Contributors
Index

Indiana University Press

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