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Jews and Words (Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization)-Amos Oz, Fania Oz-Salzberger

  • Title: Jews and Words (Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization)
  • Author: Amos Oz, Fania Oz-Salzberger
  • Released: 2012-11-20
  • Language:
  • Pages: 248
  • ISBN: 0300156472
  • ISBN13: 978-0300156478
  • ASIN: 0300156472

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From *Starred Review* Oz and his daughter, a historian, combine their considerable talents to examine the role words and language have played in binding the Jewish people to their heritage. Although neither is religious (nor, for that matter, a believer), both find rich meaning in the words of the Bible (as well as the commentaries that followed). They theorize that the reason Judaism has survived is more about texts than faith, with “controversy built into them from the start.” Exhibiting eye-popping feats of literary scholarship and stunning swoops into the minds of writers, readers, and rabbis, the authors clearly relish the richness of their topic. The familar subjects are here (the role of humor in Jewish writing), but the duo goes much further than expected. What about the important part questions have played in the writings, starting with Genesis? A wonderful chapter recounts the role of women writers and shows how the author of Song of Songs might have been female. The text grapples with what it means to be a Jew, especially with God optional, and how Judaism might never have survived without the decision of fathers and mothers to impress the importance (and sweetness) of learning on children early and often. This is a book to read, think about, and discuss because, as the ending notes, “every time we read a text, we author it in our own image.” --Ilene Cooper

Review "Filled with chutzpah, wisdom, humor, and common sense.... The authors have added meaningfully and joyfully to the continuum they celebrate. Readers will come away from this entrancing meditation needing to add comments of their own."—Jewish Book World 
(Jewish Book World)

 "In [Jews and Words],...boisterous excitement over words and ideas generates a little paradise beyond politics. It opens up a garden of play and joy, of dispute without hate and passions without victims."—Independent

(Independent)

"Jews and Words [is] brimming with such unsentimental affection for these texts and the role they've played in the survival of the Jewish people that those with any interest in the subject are likely to find themselves captivated and inspired by the authors' undisguised enthusiasm...A passionate, sophisticated argument for the central role of texts in Jewish survival."—Shelf Awareness
(Shelf Awareness)

"A provocative mixture of scholarship, sly observation and wry writing that often glistens."—Kirkus Reviews
(Kirkus)

Jews and Words is a conversation between two people who love each other, informed by a wonderful sense of humor and a passionate yet measured analysis of language, people, and literature. Honesty shines through every paragraph of this terrific work.”—Yehuda Bauer (Yehuda Bauer)

"Playfully instructive...Will appeal to lay readers interested in a nonreligious Judaism based on contemporary readings of traditional and more modern Jewish texts."—Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly)

Jews and Words is a wonderful, a great essay…. The line ‘Ours is not a bloodline but a textline’ is a drum beat.”—Jürgen Habermas

(J�rgen Habermas)

"Exhibiting eye-popping feats of literary scholarship and stunning swoops into the minds of writers, readers, and rabbis, the authors clearly relish the richness of their topic. . . . This is a book to read, think about, and discuss because, as the ending notes, 'every time we read a text, we author it in our own image.'"—Booklist, Starred Review
(Booklist)

Jews and Words is thrilling and entertaining, challenging clichés and stereotypes at every page. Its tone is half serious and half humorous, mixing a mastery of its subject with an informal touch. It promises to be very controversial and widely read.”—Mario Vargas Llosa
(Mario Vargas Llosa)

 “Absolument passionnant.”—Bernard-Henri Lévy
(Bernard-Henri L�vy 2012-08-22)

Jews and Words is a wonderful, a great essay. It will resonate not only in the ears of Jews, but also in the mind of any secular intellectual who retains a certain sensitivity for the wealth of words in our book-religions. The line ‘Ours is not a bloodline but a textline’ is a drum beat for those who hear the special connotations, and for everyone who embraces the eighteenth-century Enlightenment without forgetting those religious motifs that deserve translation without annihilation.”—Jürgen Habermas
(J�rgen Habermas)

"Captivating, troubling and exhilarating — all three of these adjectives apply with equal force to Jews and Words, an important and invigorating contemplation of the shared experiences and values that have always defined the Jewish people."—Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal
(Jonathan Kirsch Jewish Journal)

"A charmingly funny book—not just humorous but sometimes downright hilarious. The essence of it is that the natural condition of the Jewish people—and the source of their resilience—is being in argument with the world, with one another and, to be sure, with God himself. But you cannot get the taste of this book, let alone its essence, without reading it."—Martin Peretz, Wall Street Journal
(Martin Peretz Wall Street Journal)

“[A] fascinating overview of Jewish intellectual traditions from a secular perspective. . . Readers with any background will find details and stories to engage with, argue with and think about.”—Mona Moraru, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 
(Mona Moraru Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"In this provocative, playful, speculative journey through the rich, centuries-old heritage of Jewish literature, father and daughter Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger propose a 'textline' rather than a bloodline — a notion of Jewish lineage that is etched not in blood but in words."—Jewish Chronicle 

(Jewish Chronicle)

"A thought-provoking essay on language, literature and the eternal question of Jewish identity. . . Jews and Words is filled with fascinating anecdotes and details. . . A stimulating meditation on what it means to be a Jew and what it means to be a reader."—Wall Street Journal 
(Wall Street Journal)

"Distinguished both by the clarity of its authors' arguments and the intellectual panache they display on the page. It’s a little book, perhaps, but also an uncommonly delightful and learned one.”—Los Angeles Review of Books 
(Los Angeles Review of Books)

"These two high-powered Jewish intellectuals deploy their full inventory of literary, biblical and historic insights to their review of the vital role of words as a sustaining force in Jewish life. . . This slim (232 pages), but insight-packed volume deserves a wide reading audience."—St. Louis Jewish Light
(St. Louis Jewish Light) pdf
 
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