Monday, December 18, 2017

Review of Wasserman, Jews, Gentiles, and Other Animals

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Book Note | Jews, Gentiles, and Other Animals: The Talmud After the Humanities (M Adryael Tong).
Mira Beth Wasserman. Jews, Gentiles, and Other Animals: The Talmud After the Humanities. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylania Press, 2017.
Mira Beth Wasserman’s thoroughly researched and beautifully written monograph is an ambitious foray by a Talmud scholar into the diverse, often-fractious, and notoriously difficult jungle of critical theory. Wasserman’s project has a number of moving parts, but essentially, it is a sustained reading of the entirety of the Babylonian Talmud tractate Avodah Zara (hereafter, “AZ”) as a literary whole. She argues that a close reading of the tractate reveals the Bavli’s redactors not as disinterested editors working merely to preserve texts they received, but as artists in their own right, carefully organizing the material in AZ under “an overarching plan or an undergirding logic” (p. 23). ...

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