The Jewish Body: Corporeality, Society, and Identity in the Renaissance and Early Modern Period

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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.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Maria Diemling, Dr. Phil. (1999) in History, University of Vienna, is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, United Kingdom. She has published on Jewish-Christian relations in the Early Modern Period with a particular interest in conversions and images of the body.

Giuseppe Veltri, PhD. (1991), Free University of Berlin is professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Halle (Germany) and Director of the Zunz Centre. He has published on Jewish hermeneutics, philosophy, magic, folklore, Renaissance studies including Eine Tora für den König Talmai (1994), Magie und Halakha (1997), Gegenwart der Tradition (2002), Cultural Intermediaries (2004 with David Ruderman), Library, Translations, and "Canonic" Texts (2006).

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Table of Contents

The Rise of the Body in Early Modern Jewish Society: The Italian Case Study
Roni Weinstein
Jewish Bodies and Renaissance Melancholy: Culture and the City in Italy and the Ottoman Empire
Eleazar Gutwirth
“Den ikh bin treyfe gevezn”: Body Perceptions in Seventeenth-Century Jewish Autobiographical Texts
Maria Diemling
“Who Knows What the Cause Is?”: “Natural” and “Unnatural” Causes for Illness in the Writings of Baʻalei Shem, Doctors and Patients among German Jews in the Eighteenth Century
Nimrod Zinger
“Laʻavodat 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
Ruth Berger
On the Performing Body in Theosophical-Theurgical Kabbalah: Some Preliminary Remarks
Moshe Idel
Giving Birth to the Hebrew Author: Two Compositions by Johanan Alemanno
Arthur M. Lesley
The Idea of Beauty in Leone Ebreo (Judah Abravanel)
Sergius Kodera
Body of Conversion and the Immortality of the Soul: The “Beautiful Jewess” Sara Copio Sullam
Giuseppe Veltri
Shaping the Body of the Godhead: The Adaptation of the Androgynous Motif in Early Christian Kabbalah
Saverio Campanini
The Human Body as a Musical Instrument in the Sermons of Judah Moscato
Gianfranco Miletto
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
Don Harrán
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