Faculty Publications

As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist
Eitan P. Fishbane, assistant professor, Department of Jewish Thought

As Light Before Dawn explores the mystical thought of Isaac ben Samuel of Akko, a major medieval kabbalist whose work has until now received relatively little attention. This study examines an array of themes and questions that have great applicability to the comparative study of mysticism and the broader study of religion. These include prayer and the nature of mystical experience; meditative concentration directed to God; and the power of mental intention, authority, creativity, and the transmission of wisdom. Published by Stanford University Press, 2009.


Bringing the Hidden to Light—Studies in Honor of Stephen A. Geller
Kathryn F. Kravitz and Diane M. Sharon

Stephen A. Geller's attention to language and his interest in applying the methods of literary analysis to the Hebrew Bible are reflected in his work throughout his career. His method is illustrated in his studies of texts that represent the major religious traditions in the Hebrew Bible; these studies have been collected in Sacred Enigmas, published in 1997. Published by Eisenbrauns, 2007.


A Delightful Compendium of Consolation
Burton L. Visotzky, Nathan and Janet Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies

In this novel, Burton Visotzky imagines that the Genizah letters that opened a window into history also granted us an intimate look at the human heart. Published by Ben Yehuda Press, 2008.

 


Doing Jewish Theology: God, Torah & Israel in Modern Judaism
Neil Gillman, professor, Department of Jewish Thought

Drawing from Judaism's sacred texts, as well as great thinkers such as Mordecai Kaplan, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Paul Tillich, Neil Gillman traces his theological journey over four decades of study, beginning with his own understanding of revelation. He explores the role of symbol and myth in our understanding of the nature of God and covenant. He examines the importance of community in both determining authority and sanctifying sacred space. Published by Jewish Lights Publishing, 2008.


Eternally Eve: Images of Eve in the Hebrew Bible, Midrash, and Modern Jewish Poetry
Anne Lapidus Lerner, codirector and founder of the Jewish Women's Studies Program, director of the Jewish Feminist Research Group, and assistant professor of Jewish Literature

Eternally Eve takes as its subject the many ways Eve's stories can be read, interpreting the biblical narratives as well as their iteration by rabbinic midrashists and modern poets. Published by Brandeis University Press, 2007.


Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages
David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics

Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages is the first book ever to explore the history of Jewish eating practices from the Bible to the present, and the first to interpret Jewish eating practices throughout the ages as keys to understanding current Jewish identities. Published by Routledge, 2008.


Jews and Shoes
Edna Nahshon, associate professor of Hebrew and former chair of the Hebrew Department

Jews and Shoes takes a fresh look at the makings and meanings of shoes, cobblers, and barefootedness in Jewish experience. The book shows how shoes convey theological, social, and economic concepts, and as such are intriguing subjects for inquiry within a wide range of cultural, artistic, and historic contexts. Published by Berg Publishers, 2008.


"Jews, Judaism and the Problem of Hyphenated Identity in America"
(Ambivalent Jew: Charles Liebman in Memoriam)
Arnold Eisen, seventh chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary

Chancellor Eisen's contribution to this volume attests to Charles Liebman's immense contribution to the understanding of contemporary American Jews. The chancellor's essay, as well as the other essays in this volume, illuminates the fields closest to Charles Liebman's academic and existential concerns: the multifaceted nature of modern Jewish identity; trends in Diaspora Jewish communities, particularly in the United States; and the evolution of Judaism in contemporary Israel. Published by JTS Press, 2007.


Seeing With Both Eyes—Ephraim Luntshitz and the Polish-Jewish Renaissance
Leonard S. Levin, assistant professor of Jewish Philosophy

This is an integrated study of the revival of philosophical studies in sixteenth-century, central-European Jewry and focuses on seven major thinkers, with particular emphasis on the intellectual development of Ephraim Luntshitz (1550–1619). Published by Brill, 2008.

 


The Song of the Distant Dove—Judah Halevi's Pilgrimage
Raymond P. Scheindlin, professor of Medieval Hebrew Literature and director of Shalom Spiegel Institute of Medieval Hebrew Poetry

This luminous and elegant study brings to life one of the most remarkable personalities of medieval Judaism, the Spanish Hebrew poet and philosopher Judah Halevi at the moment of his fabled pilgrimage to the land of Israel, and in doing so, captures an entire Jewish culture in all its complex yearnings. Published by Oxford University Press, 2007.


Torah Lishma—Essays in Jewish Studies in Honor of Professor Shamma Friedman
Edited by David Golinkin, Moshe Benovitz, Mordechai Akiva Friedman, Menachem Schmelzer, and Daniel Sperber

This book contains twenty-six articles in five categories that deal with the wide range of Shamma Friedman's scholarship: higher and lower criticism of the Talmud, Tannaitic literature, Midrash, Rabbinic Hebrew and Aramaic, Rishonim, manuscripts, and the history of Hebrew printing. The volume also contains words of tribute and a bibliography of his writings.


What We Now Know About Jewish Education: Perspectives on Research for Practice
What We Now Know About Jewish EducationEdited by Roberta Louis Goodman, Paul A. Flexner, and Linda Dale Bloomberg

JTS faculty contributors include Ofra Backenroth, Carol K. Ingall, Amy Wallk Katz, Jeffrey Kress, Alvin Mars, Adina Ofek, and Jack Wertheimer.
This new resource captures the essence of a field on the cusp of major change and growth as it turns toward research and evaluation for information, insight, affirmation, and inspiration. By bringing together thinkers and researchers from a cross section of disciplines and institutions, this new volume provides both professional and lay leadership with a new tool to advance the quality of Jewish education in schools, synagogues, camps, and centers, and every other venue where Jews are learning formally and informally, building their own personal connections with the Jewish people. Published by Torah Aura Productions, 2008.


Yiddishlands—A Memoir
David G. Roskies, Sol and Evelyn Henkind Chair in Yiddish Literature and Culture and professor of Jewish Literature

David G. Roskies' passionate narrative of a brilliant family is more than a memoir of rupture and renewal—it is a history of a civilization: its languages, its lost cities, and its living songs. Published by Wayne State University Press, 2008.