Jews and Words (Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization)

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9780300156478: Jews and Words (Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization)

Why are words so important to so many Jews? Novelist Amos Oz and historian Fania Oz-Salzberger roam the gamut of Jewish history to explain the integral relationship of Jews and words. Through a blend of storytelling and scholarship, conversation and argument, father and daughter tell the tales behind Judaism’s most enduring names, adages, disputes, texts, and quips. These words, they argue, compose the chain connecting Abraham with the Jews of every subsequent generation.

Framing the discussion within such topics as continuity, women, timelessness, and individualism, Oz and Oz-Salzberger deftly engage Jewish personalities across the ages, from the unnamed, possibly female author of the Song of Songs through obscure Talmudists to contemporary writers. They suggest that Jewish continuity, even Jewish uniqueness, depends not on central places, monuments, heroic personalities, or rituals but rather on written words and an ongoing debate between the generations. Full of learning, lyricism, and humor, Jews and Words offers an extraordinary tour of the words at the heart of Jewish culture and extends a hand to the reader, any reader, to join the conversation.

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From the Author:

An excerpt from Jews and Words


Jewish continuity always hinged on uttered and written words, on an expanding maze of interpretations, debates, and disagreements, and on a unique human rapport. In synagogue, at school, and most of all in the home, it always involved two or three generations deep in conversation.


Ours is not a bloodline but a textline. There is a tangible sense in which Abraham and Sarah, Rabban Gamliel, Glickel of Hameln, and the present authors all belong to the same family tree. Such continuity has recently been disputed: there was no such thing as "Jewish nation," we are told, before modern ideologues deviously dreamed it up. Well, we disagree. Not because we are nationalists. One purpose of this book is to reclaim our ancestry, but also to explain what kind of ancestry, in our view, is worth the effort of reclaiming.


We are not about stones, clans, or chromosomes. You don't have to be an archeologist, an anthropologist, or a geneticist to trace and substantiate the Jewish continuum. You don't have to be an observant Jew. You don't have to be a Jew. Or, for that matter, an anti-Semite. All you have to be is a reader.

From the Back Cover:

"Ingenious and thrilling, Jews and Words manages to cram more than five thousand years of prayers, songs, stories, arguments, praises, curses, and jokes into the suitcase of a thin, page-turning work of . . . what? History? Anthropology? Literary criticism? Theology? All of these and more. It's a wonderful book." Jonathan Safran Foer
"Jews and Words is thrilling and entertaining, challenging clichés and stereotypes at every page. Its tone is half serious and half humorous, mixing a mastery of its subject with an informal touch. It promises to be very controversial and widely read." Mario Vargas Llosa
"Absolument passionnant."
Bernard-Henri Lévy
"Jews and Words is a wonderful, a great essay. It will resonate not only in the ears of Jews, but also in the mind of any secular intellectual who retains a certain sensitivity for the wealth of words in our book-religions. The line 'Ours is not a bloodline but a textline' is a drumbeat for those who hear the special connotations, and for everyone who embraces the eighteenth- century Enlightenment without forgetting those religious motifs that deserve translation without annihilation."
Jürgen Habermas Amos Oz is the internationally renowned author of more than twenty works of fiction and numerous essays on politics, literature, and peace. He is also professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva.
Fania Oz-Salzberger is a writer and history professor in the Faculty of Law at the Uni- versity of Haifa. She recently held the Leon Liberman Chair in Modern Israel Studies at Monash University, and the Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professorship for Dis- tinguished Teaching at Princeton University.
"Ingenious and thrilling, Jews and Words manages to cram more than five thousand y 

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Oz, Amos / Oz-Salzberger, Fania
Verlag: New Haven : Yale University Press, 2012 (2012)
ISBN 10: 0300156472 ISBN 13: 9780300156478
Gebraucht Hardcover Anzahl: 1
Steven Wolfe Books
(Newton Centre, MA, USA)

Buchbeschreibung New Haven : Yale University Press, 2012, 2012. , xiv, 232pp., very good dust-jacket, very good yellow cloth, tiny ding to upper right corner of cover ISBN 9780300156478. Artikel-Nr. 40208

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Oz, Amos, Fania Oz-Salzberger and Fania Oz- Salzberger:
Verlag: Yale University Press, (2012)
ISBN 10: 0300156472 ISBN 13: 9780300156478
Gebraucht Anzahl: 1
(Basel-Stadt, Schweiz)

Buchbeschreibung Yale University Press, 2012. Gebundene Ausgabe. Buchzustand: Wie neu. 232 Seiten 20906 Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 340. Artikel-Nr. 27799

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