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Reckless Rites

Horowitz, Elliott

Published by Princeton University Press
ISBN 10: 0691138249 / ISBN 13: 9780691138244
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Reckless Rites

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition: New


Historical accounts of Jewish violence - particularly against Christians - have long been explosive material. Some historians have distorted these records for anti-Semitic purposes. This book looks at both the history of Jewish violence since late antiquity and the ways in which generations of historians have grappled with that history. Series: Jews, Christians and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World. Num Pages: 360 pages, 18 halftones. BIC Classification: HRJT. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 234 x 154 x 22. Weight in Grams: 514. . 2008. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780691138244

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Historical accounts of Jewish violence--particularly against Christians--have long been explosive material. Some historians have distorted these records for anti-Semitic purposes. Others have discounted, dismissed, or simply ignored the evidence, often for apologetic purposes.

In Reckless Rites, Elliott Horowitz takes a new and forthright look at both the history of Jewish violence since late antiquity and the ways in which generations of historians have grappled with that history. In the process, he has written the most wide-ranging book on Jewish violence in any language, and the first to fully acknowledge and address the actual anti-Christian practices that became part of the playful, theatrical violence of the Jewish festival of Purim. He has also examined the different ways in which the book of Esther, upon which the festival is based, was used by Jews and Christians over the centuries--whether as an ancient mirror of modern tribulations or as the scriptural basis for anti-Semitic claims regarding the bloodthirstiness of the Jews.

Reckless Rites reassesses the historical interpretation of Jewish violence--from the alleged massacre of thousands of Christians in seventh-century Jerusalem to later medieval attacks on Christian symbols such as the crucifix, transgressions that were often committed in full knowledge that their likely consequence would be death.

A book that calls for major changes in the way that Jewish history is written and conceptualized, Reckless Rites will be essential reading for scholars and students of history, religion, and Jewish-Christian relations.

From the Back Cover:

"Elliott Horowitz's learned, humane, and exciting book will rattle many platitudes and disturb many pieties. Purim will never be quite the same; and the complications that Horowitz introduces into the history of Jewish self-representation will be ferociously debated for many years to come. Horowitz's lack of interest in edification is itself edifying; his love of truth is fully the match of his love of tradition. Reckless Rites is a model of the lost art of troublemaking scholarship."--Leon Wieseltier

"This is a book of tremendous importance that explores some of the most significant themes in Jewish history, especially the relations between Jews and Christians and the question of Jewish passivity and meekness. Horowitz disputes scholarly and popular accounts that ascribe these characteristics to Jews, in part by showing that both Jews and Christians have had polemical and apologetic motives in making such representations. This book represents a vitally significant reorientation of Jewish historiography. It will be controversial, no doubt, but it is certain to be a turning point in the field."--Daniel Boyarin, Hermann P. and Sophia Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley

"Reading Elliott Horowitz is always a treat and an education. He has an unusually keen eye for topics that other scholars have bypassed, and his work reveals extraordinarily wide reading--not only of Jewish sources but also texts that few Jewish historians would bother opening. And he follows the sources wherever they lead, regardless of conclusions that may startle or even affront readers. Reckless Rites will raise the eyebrows and perhaps elevate the blood pressure of some readers, but it illuminates dark corners of the Jewish past."--Marc Saperstein, Charles E. Smith Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Judaic Studies Program, George Washington University

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