Renewing the Past, Reconfiguring Jewish Culture: From al-Andalus to the Haskalah

Overview

In a penetrating exploration of the various ways memories and representations of the Jewish past have been reconfigured in new historical circumstances, Renewing the Past, Reconfiguring Jewish Culture focuses on two key eras of encounter between Jews and non-Jews: the golden age of Sephardic culture in Islamic al-Andalus, on the one hand, and on the other, the period of the European Enlightenment and the Jewish Enlightenment, or Haskalah, which it inspired. The writings assembled here engage with key issues to ...

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Overview

In a penetrating exploration of the various ways memories and representations of the Jewish past have been reconfigured in new historical circumstances, Renewing the Past, Reconfiguring Jewish Culture focuses on two key eras of encounter between Jews and non-Jews: the golden age of Sephardic culture in Islamic al-Andalus, on the one hand, and on the other, the period of the European Enlightenment and the Jewish Enlightenment, or Haskalah, which it inspired. The writings assembled here engage with key issues to understand how in both epochs the cultural orientation of Jewish society was profoundly reassessed and transformed by new influences filtering in from outside.

Adopting a comparative historical approach, Renewing the Past, Reconfiguring Jewish Culture offers a view of moments of heightened interaction between Jews and their host cultures. The elevation of the ideal of rationalism provoked significant shifts in the aesthetic values and patterns of cultural memory in Sephardic al-Andalus; this same ideal once again posed insistent challenges in the era of the Enlightenment, to which Jewish intellectuals widely responded by evoking, but also refashioning, the historical precedent of the Andalusian Golden Age.

Looking to contexts ranging from premodern Spain and Italy to nineteenth-century Russia, Germany, and America, the eleven contributors to this volume—drawn equally from literary and historical studies—explore the ways the political and intellectual aspirations of successive historical presents have repeatedly reshaped the forms and narratives of Jewish cultural memory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An important contribution not only to Jewish studies but also to the larger study of historical memory."—American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812237429
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2003
  • Series: Jewish Culture and Contexts
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 1,274,337
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ross Brann is M. R. Konvitz Professor of Judeo-Islamic Studies at Cornell University and is author of Power in the Portrayal: Representations of Jews and Muslims in Eleventh- and Twelfth-century Islamic Spain. Adam Sutcliffe teaches Jewish history at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is author of Judaism and Enlightenment.
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Table of Contents

Foreword David B. Ruderman
Introduction: Al-Andalus, Enlightenment, and the Renewal of the Jewish Past
—Adam Sutcliffe and Ross Brann

PART I. PHILOSOPHY, POETRY, AND CULTURAL EXCHANGE IN PREMODERN AL-ANDALUS AND ITALY
1. Aesthetic Models in Conflict: Classicist versus Ornamental in Jewish Poetics
—Joseph Yahalom
2. The Uses of Exile in Poetic Discourse: Some Examples from Medieval Hebrew Literature
—Esperanza Alfonso
3. Their Rose in Our Garden: Romance: Elements in Hebrew Italian Poetry
—Dvora Bregman
4. The Crisis of Medieval Knowledge in the Work of the Fifteenth-Century Poet and Philosopher Moses da Rieti
—Alessandro Guetta

PART II. RENEWING TEXTS, CHANGING HORIZONS: THE JEWISH ENLIGHTENMENTS APPROPRIATION OF ANDALUSI IDEALS
5. Judah Halevis Kuzari in the Haskalah: The Reinterpretation and Re-imagining of a Medieval Work
—Adam Shear
6. The Aesthetic Difference: Moses Mendelssohns Kohelet Musar and the Inception of the Berlin Haskalah
—Jonathan Karp
7. Varieties of Haskalah: Sabato Moraiss Program of Sephardi Rabbinic Humanism in Victorian America
—Arthur Kiron

PART III: REFASHIONINGS OF THE JEWISH PAST IN THE ERA OF HASKALAH
8. Solomon Maimon and His Jewish Philosophical Predecessors: The Evidence of His Autobiography
—Allan Arkush
9. Quarreling over Spinoza: Moses: Mendelssohn and the Fashioning of Jewish Philosophical Heroism
—Adam Sutcliffe
10. Strategic Friendships: Jewish Intellectuals, the Abbé Grégoire, and the French Revolution
—Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall
11. Heine and Haggadah: History, Narration and Tradition in the Age of Wissenschaft des Judentums
—Jonathan Skolnik

List of Contributors
Index

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