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Power, Ethics, and Ecology in Jewish Late Antiquity

Rabbinic Responses to Drought and Disaster

Power, Ethics, and Ecology in Jewish Late Antiquity

Rabbinic Responses to Drought and Disaster

This item is a print on demand title and will be dispatched in 1-3 weeks.

Paperback / softback

£23.99

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107533929
Number of Pages: 251
Published: 26/03/2020
Width: 15.2 cm
Height: 22.9 cm
Rabbinic tales of drought, disaster, and charismatic holy men illuminate critical questions about power, ethics, and ecology in Jewish late antiquity. Through a sustained reading of the Babylonian Talmud's tractate on fasts in response to drought, this book shows how Bavli Ta'anit challenges Deuteronomy's claim that virtue can assure abundance and that misfortune is an unambiguous sign of divine rebuke. Employing a new method for analyzing lengthy talmudic narratives, Julia Watts Belser traces complex strands of aggadic dialectic to show how Bavli Ta'anit's redactors articulate a strikingly self-critical theological and ethical discourse. Bavli Ta'anit castigates rabbis for misuse of power, exposing the limits of their perception and critiquing prevailing obsessions with social status. But it also celebrates the possibilities of performative perception - the power of an adroit interpreter to transform events in the world and interpret crisis in a way that draws forth blessing.

Julia Watts Belser (Georgetown University, Washington DC)

Julia Watts Belser is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University, Washington DC. Her articles have appeared in numerous journals, including the AJS Review, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology, and the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics.

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