Jews and Words by Amós Oz & Fania Oz-Salzberger
(Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization)

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Synopsis

Why are words so important to so many Jews? Novelist Amos Oz and historian Fania Oz-Salzberger roam the gamut of Jewish history to explain the integral relationship of Jews and words. Through a blend of storytelling and scholarship, conversation and argument, father and daughter tell the tales behind Judaism’s most enduring names, adages, disputes, texts, and quips. These words, they argue, compose the chain connecting Abraham with the Jews of every subsequent generation.

Framing the discussion within such topics as continuity, women, timelessness, and individualism, Oz and Oz-Salzberger deftly engage Jewish personalities across the ages, from the unnamed, possibly female author of the Song of Songs through obscure Talmudists to contemporary writers. They suggest that Jewish continuity, even Jewish uniqueness, depends not on central places, monuments, heroic personalities, or rituals but rather on written words and an ongoing debate between the generations. Full of learning, lyricism, and humor, Jews and Words offers an extraordinary tour of the words at the heart of Jewish culture and extends a hand to the reader, any reader, to join the conversation.

 

About Amós Oz & Fania Oz-Salzberger

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Amos Oz is the internationally renowned author of more than twenty works of fiction and numerous essays on politics, literature, and peace. He is also professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva. Fania Oz-Salzberger is a writer and history professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa.
 
Published November 5, 2012 by Yale University Press. 249 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Jews and Words

Kirkus Reviews

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After establishing their fundamental and shared beliefs—they are secular Jews who value the Bible not for its historical or religious meanings but for “its splendor as literature”—they establish their thesis (the printed word has unified and identified Jews) and begin marshaling support.

Aug 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Jews and Words (Posen Library...

Publishers Weekly

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These four long essays—really more of a free-flowing conversation between the noted Israeli novelist and his daughter, a historian—focus primarily on the Jews as “a nation only by virtue of its texts,” from the Bible to the work of contemporary Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai—and the interp...

Sep 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Jews and Words (Posen Library...

Bookmarks Magazine

These words, they argue, compose the chain connecting Abraham with the Jews of every subsequent generation.

Framing the discussion within such topics as continuity, women, timelessness, and individualism, Oz and Oz-Salzberger deftly engage Jewish personalities across the ages, from the unn...

Dec 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Jews and Words (Posen Library...

Shelf Awareness

Again supporting Small Business Saturday, on Saturday President Obama and his two daughters, Sasha and Malia, visited One More Page Books, Arlington, Va., and bought 15 children's books, which press reports said, will be given as gifts to family members.

Nov 26 2012 | Read Full Review of Jews and Words (Posen Library...

Arts Fuse

At first glance, Oz and Oz-Salzberger’s Jews and Words seems to be an unexceptional if elegantly written and occasionally witty contribution to the Jewish bookshelf.

Dec 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Jews and Words (Posen Library...

Moment

“As Jewish atheists,” they write, “we take religion to be a great human invention.” As such, it is “neither falsehood nor forgery.” A skeptic might regard the Jewish scriptures “like other holy texts, as an apocryphal web of prejudices.” A Marxist “might deem them tools of oppression, although in...

Feb 27 2013 | Read Full Review of Jews and Words (Posen Library...

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