Academic journal article Medium Aevum

'Turn It Again': Jewish Medieval Studies and Literary Theory

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

'Turn It Again': Jewish Medieval Studies and Literary Theory

Article excerpt

'Turn it again': Jewish Medieval Studies and Literary Theory, ed. Sheila Delany (Asheville, NC: Pegasus Press, 2004). 234 pp. ISBN 1-889818-36-4. $18.98.

This slim but stimulating volume of essays is a revised version of a special issue of the journal Hxemplaria (12/1, 2000), assembled by Sheila Delany. 'Turn it again', a tide taken from a Talmudic adage, stands as both partner and corrective to Delany's other recent edited volume, Chaucer and the Jem (New York, 2002), which largely considers the Jew in the Christian imagination; 'Turn it again', on the other hand, seeks to bring modern critical apparatuses to bear on medieval Jewish texts and images. 'Turn it again' will be of interest to those working at an advanced level in medieval Jewish history and in medieval religious studies. The sources are often relatively understudied (for example, Elliot Wolfson's essay on cabbalistic anthropology, Bruce Rosenstock on Alonso de Cartagena) and many of the essays require a reasonable familiarity with Hebrew and other languages. This is not a criticism: the essays in 'Turn it again' are mostly detailed, precise, critically astute, and often provocative. Susan Einbinder's characteristically insightful work on female Jewish martyrdom narratives discloses a fascinadng Christian-Jewish reciprocity in French and Rhenish accounts of marriage and conversion. In her essay 'Cultural hybridity, cultural subversion: text and image in the Alba Bible, 1422-33', Sonia Fellous shows how such reciprocity can have particular meanings and motivations in especially charged contexts, in this case the commissioning by Don Luis de Guzman of a translation of the Hebrew Bible by Rabbi Moses Arragel against the backdrop of the bloody torments of fifteenth-century Iberia. …

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