Sunday, September 27, 2020

Spielman, Jews and Entertainment in the Ancient World

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Loren R. Spielman. Jews and Entertainment in the Ancient World. 2020. IX, 311 pages. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 181. 134,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-155000-3.
Published in English.
Countering the traditional belief that Jews in antiquity were predominantly disinterested in the popular entertainments of the Greek and Roman world, Loren R. Spielman maps the varieties of Jewish engagement with theater, athletics, horse racing, gladiatorial, and beast shows in antiquity. The author argues that Jews from Hellenistic Alexandria to late antique Sepphoris enjoyed and exploited, or alternatively resisted and scorned, popular forms of public entertainment as they adapted to the political, social, and religious realities of imperial rule. Including references to ancient Jewish actors, athletes, promoters, and plays alongside analysis of rabbinic and other early Jewish critique of sport and spectacle, Loren R. Spielman describes the different ways that attitudes towards entertainment might have played a role in shaping ancient Jewish identity.

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