Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America / Edition 1

Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America / Edition 1

by David Biale
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520211340

ISBN-13: 9780520211346

Pub. Date: 10/03/1997

Publisher: University of California Press


Contradictory stereotypes about Jewish sexuality pervade modern culture, from Lenny Bruce's hip eroticism to Woody Allen's little man with the big libido (and even bigger sexual neurosis). Does Judaism in fact liberate or repress sexual desire? David Biale does much more than answer that question as he traces Judaism's evolving position on sexuality, from the…  See more details below

Overview


Contradictory stereotypes about Jewish sexuality pervade modern culture, from Lenny Bruce's hip eroticism to Woody Allen's little man with the big libido (and even bigger sexual neurosis). Does Judaism in fact liberate or repress sexual desire? David Biale does much more than answer that question as he traces Judaism's evolving position on sexuality, from the Bible and Talmud to Zionism up through American attitudes today. What he finds is a persistent conflict between asceticism and gratification, between procreation and pleasure.

From the period of the Talmud onward, Biale says, Jewish culture continually struggled with sexual abstinence, attempting to incorporate the virtues of celibacy, as it absorbed them from Greco-Roman and Christian cultures, within a theology of procreation. He explores both the canonical writings of male authorities and the alternative voices of women, drawing from a fascinating range of sources that includes the Book of Ruth, Yiddish literature, the memoirs of the founders of Zionism, and the films of Woody Allen.

Biale's historical reconstruction of Jewish sexuality sees the present through the past and the past through the present. He discovers an erotic tradition that is not dogmatic, but a record of real people struggling with questions that have challenged every human culture, and that have relevance for the dilemmas of both Jews and non-Jews today.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520211346
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
10/03/1997
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
334
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.88(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Dilemmas of Desire1
Ch. 1Sexual Subversions in the Bible11
Ch. 2Law and Desire in the Talmud33
Ch. 3Rabbinic Authority and Popular Culture in Medieval Europe60
Ch. 4Sensuality, Asceticism, and Medieval Jewish Philosophy86
Ch. 5Sexuality and Spirituality in the Kabbalah101
Ch. 6The Displacement of Desire in Eighteenth-Century Hasidism121
Ch. 7Eros and Enlightenment149
Ch. 8Zionism as an Erotic Revolution176
Ch. 9Sexual Stereotypes in American Jewish Culture204
Epilogue: Creating Desire228
Notes231
Bibliography of Selected Secondary Works295
Index309

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >