Modern Midrash

The Retelling of Traditional Jewish Narratives by Twentieth-Century Hebrew Writers

By David C. Jacobson

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780887063251, 220 pages, January 1987
Hardcover : 9780887063237, 220 pages, January 1987
Paperback - Unavailable
Hardcover - Unavailable

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Table of contents

Acknowledgments

A Note on Translation and Transliteration

Introduction: The Development of Modern Midrash in the Twentieth Century

Part I. Secular Scripture

1. Neo-Hasidic Tales: Micha Yosef Berdyczewski and Y. L. Peretz

2. The Creative Restoration of Legends: Chaim Nachman Bialik

3. Biblical Tales of the Wilderness: David Frischmann

Part II. Biblical Archetypes and the Modern Jewish Experience

4. The Life and Death of King Saul: Shaul Tchernichowsky

5. Men and Women in the Bible: Yocheved Bat-Miriam

6. The Holocaust Survivor and the Bible: Amir Gilboa, Abba Kovner, and Dan Pagis

7. Uses and Abuses of Power in Ancient and Modern Israel: Nissim Aloni, Moshe Shamir, and Amos Oz

Conclusion: Traditional Heroes for Modern Times

Notes

Selected Bibliography

Index

This book explores a central phenomenon in the development of modern Jewish literature: the retelling of tradtional Jewish narratives by twentieth-century writers. It shows how and toward what ends Biblical stories, legends, and Hasidic tales have been used in shaping modern Hebrew literature.

Description

This book explores a central phenomenon in the development of modern Jewish literature: the retelling of tradtional Jewish narratives by twentieth-century writers. It shows how and toward what ends Biblical stories, legends, and Hasidic tales have been used in shaping modern Hebrew literature.

The author's impressive knowledge and careful analysis of both early and modern Hebrew texts reveal the main literary features of the genre, while making an important contribution to current discussions of the relationship between midrash and literature, the relationship between myth (and other traditional narratives) and modern literature, and the concept of intertextuality.

The book also provides many fresh insights on the various issues of modern Jewish existence addressed in these works. Among these are: the revival of the Jewish tradition by reinterpreting it in light of new values, the preservation of Jewish identity entering into Western culture, the changing roles of men and women in Jewish culture, challenges to traditional Jewish views of sexuality, attempts to physically destroy the Jewish people, moral and political issues raised by the establishment of the State of Israel, and the conflict between Jews and Arabs.

David C. Jacobson is Assistant Professor of Hebrew at the University of Pennsylvania.