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Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History
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Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History
Authority, Diaspora, Tradition

Edited by Ra'anan S. Boustan, Oren Kosansky, and Marina Rustow

448 pages | 6 x 9 | 16 illus.
Cloth 2011 | ISBN 9780812243031 | $75.00s | Outside the Americas £60.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Jewish Culture and Contexts
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"This is a fascinating collection of essays. Everyone who is interested in how anthropology can fertilize the academic study of religious traditions should read this richly detailed book."—Talal Asad, City University of New York

"While closely focused on specific cases and offering close and careful readings of sources, this collection engages with core issues of tradition and authority in novel ways. Anyone interested in the question of tradition will find very rich food for thought."—Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, New York University

Over the past several decades, the field of Jewish studies has expanded to encompass an unprecedented range of research topics, historical periods, geographic regions, and analytical approaches. Yet there have been few systematic efforts to trace these developments, to consider their implications, and to generate new concepts appropriate to a more inclusive view of Jewish culture and society. Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History brings together scholars in anthropology, history, religious studies, comparative literature, and other fields to chart new directions in Jewish studies across the disciplines.

This groundbreaking volume explores forms of Jewish experience that span the period from antiquity to the present and encompass a wide range of textual, ritual, spatial, and visual materials. The essays give full consideration to non-written expressions of ritual performance, artistic production, spoken narrative, and social experience through which Jewish life emerges. More than simply contributing to an appreciation of Jewish diversity, the contributors devote their attention to three key concepts—authority, diaspora, and tradition—that have long been central to the study of Jews and Judaism. Moving beyond inherited approaches and conventional academic boundaries, the volume reconsiders these core concepts, reorienting our understanding of the dynamic relationships between text and practice, and continuity and change in Jewish contexts. More broadly, this volume furthers conversation across the disciplines by using Judaic studies to provoke inquiry into theoretical problems in a range of other areas.

Ra'anan S. Boustan is Associate Professor of History and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Oren Kosansky is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Lewis & Clark College.

Marina Rustow is Charlotte Bloomberg Associate Professor of the Humanities at the Johns Hopkins University.

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