Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish and Christian Literature 978-3-16-150647-5 - Mohr Siebeck
Jewish Studies

Holger Michael Zellentin

Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish and Christian Literature

[Rabbinische Parodien der jüdischen und christlichen Literatur.]

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Published in English.
Do the Talmud and Midrash engage in parody? Holger Michael Zellentin seeks to assess how the classical rabbis imitate previous texts with comical difference.
Holger M. Zellentin seeks to probe how far the classical rabbis took their literary playfulness in order to advance their religious and societal causes. Building on the literary approaches to rabbinic Judaism of the past decades, this work considers the rabbis' attitudes towards their Byzantine and Sassanian surroundings. The author examines how the Talmud and Midrash in Palestine and Persia repeat previous texts with comical difference, oscillating between reverence and satire. The result shows rabbinic society and its literature engaging in the great debates of their times, commenting on issues such as pedagogy, abstinence, dream interpretation, inheritance law, ritual purity, and Christian triumphalism and asceticism. In constant conversation with the Bible, the rabbis reveal themselves as capable of critically reinventing the Jewish tradition, as well as of playfully engaging a few Gospel passages favoured by their Christian interlocutors. Rabbinic parodies cast deviant insiders as tantamount to outsiders and explore the limits of acculturation within the Jewish tradition – in the Talmud, even parody itself comes under parodic scrutiny.

Holger Michael Zellentin Born 1976; 2007 PhD Princeton University; has taught at Rutgers University, the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, and at the University of California, Berkeley; teaches Jewish Studies at the University of Nottingham; 2012 Early Career Fellowship of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK).


The following reviews are known:

In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 137 (2012), S. 32–33 (Catherine Hezser)
In: New Testament Abstracts — 55 (2011), S. 621
In: Association Jewish Libraries Newsletter — 2011, No. 3, S. 30 (Jim Rosenbloom)
In: Journal for the Study of Judaism — 43 (2012), S. 444 (Jordan D. Rosenblum)
In: Salesianum — 74 (2012), S. 391–392 (Rafael Vicent)
In: Frankfurter Judaistische Beiträge — 39 (2014), S. 121–122 (Anette Adelmann)
In: http://www.patheos.com — http://www.patheos.com (08/2011) (James F. McGrath)
In: Journal of Jewish Studies — 64 (2013), S. 207–209 (Laliv Clenman)
In: Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations — 9 (2014); http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/scjr/article/view/5624 (Loren R. Spielman)