Category Archives: Publications

New book by Isabelle Levy

With a foreword by Raymond P. Scheindlin

Jewish Literary Eros:
Between Poetry and Prose in the Medieval Mediterranean (Indiana University Press, June 2022)

In Jewish Literary Eros, Isabelle Levy explores the originality and complexity of medieval Jewish writings. Examining medieval prosimetra (texts composed of alternating prose and verse), Levy demonstrates that secular love is the common theme across Arabic, Hebrew, French, and Italian texts. At the crossroads of these spheres of intellectual activity, Jews of the medieval Mediterranean composed texts that combined dominant cultures’ literary stylings with biblical Hebrew and other elements from Jewish cultures. Levy explores Jewish authors’ treatments of love in prosimetra and finds them creative, complex, and innovative.

New book by Elisheva Baumgarten

Biblical Women and Jewish Daily Life in the Middle Ages (Penn Press, June 2022)

In Biblical Women and Jewish Daily Life in the Middle Ages, Elisheva Baumgarten seeks a point of entry into the everyday existence of people who did not belong to the learned elite, and who therefore left no written records of their lives. She does so by turning to the Bible as it was read, reinterpreted, and seen by the Jews of medieval Ashkenaz. In the tellings, retellings, and illustrations of biblical stories, and especially of those centered around women, Baumgarten writes, we can find explanations and validations for the practices that structured birth, marriage, and death; women’s inclusion in the liturgy and synagogue; and the roles of women as community leaders, givers of charity, and keepers of the household.