Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America

Eros and the Jews From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America Contradictory stereotypes about Jewish sexuality pervade modern culture from Lenny Bruce s hip eroticism to Woody Allen s little man with the big libido and even bigger sexual neurosis Does Judaism i

  • Title: Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America
  • Author: David Biale
  • ISBN: 9780520211346
  • Page: 445
  • Format: Paperback
  • Contradictory stereotypes about Jewish sexuality pervade modern culture, from Lenny Bruce s hip eroticism to Woody Allen s little man with the big libido and even bigger sexual neurosis Does Judaism in fact liberate or repress sexual desire David Biale does much than answer that question as he traces Judaism s evolving position on sexuality, from the Bible and TalContradictory stereotypes about Jewish sexuality pervade modern culture, from Lenny Bruce s hip eroticism to Woody Allen s little man with the big libido and even bigger sexual neurosis Does Judaism in fact liberate or repress sexual desire David Biale does much than answer that question as he traces Judaism s evolving position on sexuality, from the Bible and Talmud to Zionism up through American attitudes today What he finds is a persistent conflict between asceticism and gratification, between procreation and pleasure.From the period of the Talmud onward, Biale says, Jewish culture continually struggled with sexual abstinence, attempting to incorporate the virtues of celibacy, as it absorbed them from Greco Roman and Christian cultures, within a theology of procreation He explores both the canonical writings of male authorities and the alternative voices of women, drawing from a fascinating range of sources that includes the Book of Ruth, Yiddish literature, the memoirs of the founders of Zionism, and the films of Woody Allen.Biale s historical reconstruction of Jewish sexuality sees the present through the past and the past through the present He discovers an erotic tradition that is not dogmatic, but a record of real people struggling with questions that have challenged every human culture, and that have relevance for the dilemmas of both Jews and non Jews today.

    One thought on “Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America”

    1. In this brilliant nuanced book, David Biale subtly explores and dismantles the preconceived ideas and clich├ęs about Jewish sexuality throughout history, from Antiquity to contemporary America. His deciphering of rabbinical interdictions and literature helps uncover and understand the desires and (sometimes) transgressive sexual practices of the common Jewish people, far from the constructed storybook image we are used to. Truly fascinating. A must-read.

    2. Read the last chapter about Woody Allen and Philip Roth and really would like to read the rest some day. After all, my two biggest obsessions. Have also read Rachel Biale's work and it would be good to put the husband and wife on the shelf together.

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