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The tension between the "book" and the "body" has in recent years attracted the attention of scholars interested in the perception of the body in Judaism and the impact of religious law and performance on the body. The fifteen contributions in this volume deal with perceptions of the "Jewish body" in a broad range of legal, poetic, mystical, philosophical and polemical early modern Jewish sources.
The first part of the book examines the construction of the body in specific historical and social contexts. Part two discusses normative texts and the notion of an "ideal Jewish body." Part three explores body, mind and soul in Jewish philosophy and mysticism. The last section of the book discusses body issues in Jewish-Christian discourse.
The volume includes contributions by Howard Tzvi Adelman, Ruth Berger, Saverio Campanini, Maria Diemling, Eleazar Gutwirth, Don Harrán, Moshe Idel, Sergius Kodera, Arthur M. Lesley, Gianfranco Miletto, Giuseppe Veltri, Roni Weinstein, Elliot R. Wolfson, Jeffrey R. Woolf and Nimrod Zinger.
CONTENTS Introduction PART 1 THE BODY IN HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL CONTEXT The Rise of the Body in Early Modern Jewish Society: The Italian Case Study
Jewish Bodies and Renaissance Melancholy: Culture and the City in Italy and the Ottoman Empire
“Den ikh bin treyfe gevezn”: Body Perceptions in Seventeenth-Century Jewish Autobiographical Texts
“Who Knows What the Cause Is?”: “Natural” and “Unnatural” Causes for Illness in the Writings of Ba'alei Shem, Doctors and Patients among German Jews in the Eighteenth Century
PART II THE HALAKHIC BODY
“La'avodat Bor’o”: The Body in the Shul.han Arukh of R. Joseph Caro
Jeffrey R. Woolf
Virginity: Women’s Body as a State of Mind: Destiny Becomes Biology
Howard Tzvi Adelman
Mental and Bodily Malfunctioning in Marriage: Evidence from Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century Responsa from the Ottoman Empire and Poland
PART III BODY, MIND AND SOUL On the Performing Body in Theosophical-Theurgical Kabbalah: Some Preliminary Remarks
Giving Birth to the Hebrew Author: Two Compositions by Johanan Alemanno
Arthur M. Lesley
The Idea of Beauty in Leone Ebreo (Judah Abravanel)
Body of Conversion and the Immortality of the Soul: The “Beautiful Jewess” Sara Copio Sullam
PART IV THE BODY IN JEWISH-CHRISTIAN DISCOURSE Shaping the Body of the Godhead: The Adaptation of the Androgynous Motif in Early Christian Kabbalah
The Human Body as a Musical Instrument in the Sermons of Judah Moscato
Angelic Embodiment and the Feminine Representation of Jesus: Reconstructing Carnality in the Christian Kabbalah of Johann Kemper
Elliot R. Wolfson
“Adonai con voi” (1569), a Simple Popular Song with a Complicated Semantic about (what seems to be) Circumcision