Jewish History and Jewish Memory: Essays in Honor of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi

Cover of "Jewish History and Jewish Memory."Elisheva Carlebach, John M. Efron and David M. Myers, eds.

The publication of Yosef Yerushalmi's Zakhor in 1982 set the agenda for a generation of scholarly inquiry into historical images and myths, the construction of the Jewish past, and the making and meaning of collective memory. In this book, eminent scholars in their respectives fields, whose foci span medieval to present-day Jewish history and thought, extend the lines of his seminal study into topics that range from medieval rabbinics, homiletics, kabbalah and Hasidism to anti-semitism, Zionism and the making of modern Jewish identity. The essays are clustered around four central themes: historical consciousness and the construction of memory in medieval and early modern texts; the relationship between time and history in key areas of premodern Jewish thought; the modern age and the demise of traditional forms of collective memory; and the writing of Jewish history in modern times. The result, the editors write, is a panoramic view that "celebrates Yerushalmi's catholicity of knowledge" and "unerring instinct to identify historical links not always visible to the eye" at the same time it maps the "contours of history and memory in a religious and cultural tradition in which remembrance was a deeply ingrained, ritualized imperative."

“The list of contributors to this volume constitutes a virtual 'Who's Who' of contemporary Jewish historiography: Robert Chazan, Marc Saperstein and Talya Fishman write about the pre-modern period; Moshe Idel focuses on time and history in Kabbalah; Elliot Wolfson addresses the construction of history in the Zohar; Todd Endelman confronts the way that Jewish pasts continued to limit the possibilities of converts from Judaism to Christianity in the post-Emancipation world; and Michael Meyer reflects on Jewish modernization. Though written in academese, there are important insights in these writings.” Tikkun

About the Editors

Elisheva Carlebach is Associate Professor of History at Queens College and the Graduate Center CUNY.

John M. Efron is Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Indiana University.

David N. Myers is Associate Professor of History, Center for Jewish Studies, UCLA.