Exposing a work, which has long been the darling object of an author's cares, the treasured subject of his secret thoughts, the companion of private hours, to the eye of a censorious world, must ever be attended with many varied and conflicting feelings, more particularly if that treasured subject be theology…
(Grace Aguilar, The Spirit of Judaism, 9)
This book has been ten years in the making; there are a number of individuals and institutions to thank, for both tangible and intangible gifts that have helped me persevere despite “varied and conflicting feelings. ”
I am grateful for the support this project received while in the dissertation stage, specifically from the Rutgers University Graduate Department of English and its graduate fellowship and assistantship program. Dr. Robert Goheen and The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation supported my graduate work in the form of a generous Mellon Fellowship, without which this project would not have been born. A grant from The Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture gave me an early boost of confidence that my work had relevance for Jewish studies. The women in my dissertation group, Deborah Gussman, Loretta Stec and Rebecca Brittenham, were committed, kind and tough first critics. Hugh English deserves mention for much emotional support, as does Myron Gessner. My mentors and teachers at Rutgers, Barry V. Qualls, Caroline Williams, and Cora Kaplan, gave valuable assistance. Catharine Stimpson offered valuable professional advice throughout. The project would have been unthinkable and impossible to execute without the unflagging efforts of my dissertation chair, Daniel A. Harris. His mentoring and extraordinary teaching are evident on every page of this book.
I am grateful to the staff and collections at the Rutgers University Library, Jewish Theological Seminary Library, New York Public Library, Memorial Library and Divinity School Library at Harvard University,