People of the Body: Jews and Judaism from an Embodied Perspective / Edition 1

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By shifting attention from the image of Jews as a textual community to the ways Jews understand and manage their bodies — for example, to their concerns with reproduction and sexuality, menstruation and childbirth— this volume contributes to a revisioning of what Jews and Judaism are and have been. The project of re-membering the Jewish body has both historical and constructive motivations. As a constructive project, this book describes, renews, and participates in the complex and ongoing modern discussion about the nature of Jewish bodies and the place of bodies in Judaism.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The greatest strength of the book is the issue it poses: the notion that Jews are not simply a people of the book but also a people of the body. This is a dimension of Jewish experience that has been sorely neglected and that the book puts on the agenda of Jewish studies through its consideration of a number of dimensions of the embodiedness of Jewish life.” — Judith Plaskow, Manhattan College

“Eilberg-Schwartz has identified an overlooked area of inquiry and has gathered together a collection of essays that in the aggregate suggests the riches awaiting further inquiry. This is the kind of book which will be cited frequently as a turning point in the development of a crucial research agenda.” — Martin S. Jaffee, University of Washington

Jewish Book World
In People of the Body, Howard Eilberg Schwartz gathers together essays on one of the most extraordinary subjects from scholars in various disciplines. From a meditation of Freud's nose to another on Jews' feet, from sex in the Garden of Eden to eroticism in Zionist philosophy, this collection capitalizes on recent academic work on theories of the body to consider the vexed relationship between the "People of the Book" and those Jewish sources biblical, talmudic, rabbinic which have made regulation of the body their central concern. With contributions from leading scholars of Judaism -- such as Daniel Boyarin, Riv-Ellen Pres, Sander Gilman, and David Biale -- People of the Body is at times an extremely taxing and at others an absorbinly interesting work of modern scholarship.
By shifting attention from the image of Jews as a textual community to the ways Jews understand and manage their bodies--for example, to their concerns with reproduction and sexuality, menstruation and childbirth--this volume contributes to a revisioning of what Jews and Judaism are and have been. Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Howard Eilberg-Schwartz is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University. He is the author of The Savage in Judaism: An Anthology of Israelite Religion and Ancient Judaism (winner of a 1990 American Academy Award for Academic Excellence) as well as The Human Will in Judaism.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: People of the Body

1. The Problem of the Body for the People of the Book
Howard Eilberg-Schwartz

2. The Garden of Eden and Sexuality in Early Judaism
Gary Anderson

3. The Great Fat Massacre: Sex, Death, and the Grotesque Body in the Talmud
Daniel Boyarin

4. Mizvot Built into the Body: Tkhines for Niddah, Pregnancy, and Childbirth
Chava Weissler

5. Purifying the Body in the Name of the Soul: The Problem of the Body in Sixteenth-Century Kabbalah
Lawrence Fine

6. Images of God's Feet: Some Observations on the Divine Body in Judaism
Elliot R. Wolfson

7. God's Body: Theological and Ritual Roles of Shi'ur Komah
Naomi Janowitz

8. The Body Never Lies: The Body in Medieval Jewish Folk Narratives
Eli Yasif

9. The Jewish Body: A Foot-note
Sander Gilman

10. (G)nos(e)ology: The Cultural Construction of the Other
Jay Geller

11. Zionism as an Erotic Revolution
David Biale

12. Menstruation and Identity: The Meaning of Niddah for Moroccan Women Immigrants to Israel
Rahel Wasserfall

13. Why Jewish Princesses Don't Sweat: Desire and Consumption in Postwar American Jewish Culture
Riv-Ellen Prell

14. Challenging Male/Female Complementarity: Jewish Lesbians and the Jewish Tradition
Rebecca Alpert



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