This Week’s New Books: The Memory of the Temple and the Making of the Rabbis, The Decadent Republic of Letters, Shakespeare’s Stationers, and Conversion and Narrative

The Memory of the Temple and the Making of the Rabbis
The Memory of the Temple and the Making of the Rabbis

Naftali S. Cohn

248 pages | 6 x 9 | 5 illus.

Cloth | ISBN 978-0-8122-4457-1 | $69.95 | £45.50

Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-0746-0 | $69.95 | £45.50

A  volume in the Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion series

Naftali S. Cohn provides an innovative understanding of the rabbinic authors of the Mishnah and their intense focus on the Temple. He contends that the memory of the Temple served a political function for the rabbis, arguing for their own importance within the complex social landscape of Jewish society in Roman Palestine. 

"A learned, nuanced, and well-written study of an important theme in a foundational text of rabbinic Judaism. Cohn shows that we must look outside rabbinic literature if we are to place the Mishnah in a meaningful context. Well done."–Shaye J. D. Cohen, Harvard University

The Decadent Republic of Letters
The Decadent Republic of Letters: Taste, Politics, and Cosmopolitan Community from Baudelaire to Beardsley

Matthew Potolsky

256 pages | 6 x 9

Cloth | ISBN 978-0-8122-4449-6 | $59.95 | £39.00

Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-0733-0 | $59.95 | £39.00

A  volume in the Haney Foundation Series

The Decadent Republic of Letters revises the longstanding view of decadence as a movement defined by escapism and sociopolitical withdrawal. The book argues that decadent writers and artists from Charles Baudelaire to Aubrey Beardsley addressed a cosmopolitan audience united by taste rather than language, geography, or national identity. 

"Potolsky offers a fresh and original contribution to the study of decadence and succeeds in showing how the movement is not a dusty relic of the nineteenth century, but a provocative and relevant intervention into contemporary issues. In true decadent manner, Potolsky approaches his subject perversely, arguing that we should look not at what decadence rejects but instead at what its proponents valorize. The result is a perspective that emphasizes engagement over withdrawal and renunciation. Decadence emerges from this analysis an exciting, revitalized ideology, one that suggests new ways of approaching contemporary debates."–Melanie Hawthorne, Texas A&M University

Shakespeare's Stationers
Shakespeare's Stationers: Studies in Cultural Bibliography

Edited by Marta Straznicky

376 pages | 6 x 9 | 9 illus.

Cloth | ISBN 978-0-8122-4454-0 | $75.00 | £49.00

Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-0738-5 | $75.00 | £49.00

A volume in the Material Texts series

Edited by Marta Straznicky, this seminal collection is the first to explore the multiple and intersecting forms of agency exercised by Shakespeare's stationers in the design, production, marketing, and distribution of his printed works. 

"The goal of this collection is nothing short of a fundamental shift in Shakespearean textual criticism, and it achieves this goal with aplomb. The essays are original, substantial, and make a genuine contribution to the field."–Eric Rasmussen, University of Nevada

Conversion and Narrative
Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in Medieval Polemic

Ryan Szpiech

328 pages | 6 x 9

Cloth | ISBN 978-0-8122-4471-7 | $59.95 | £39.00

Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-0761-3 | $59.95 | £39.00

A  volume in the Middle Ages Series

Szpiech draws on medieval Christian, Jewish, and Muslim polemics to investigate the role of narrative in the representation of conversion. By investigating conversion not as individual experience but as expression of communal visions of history, he shows how the narratives dramatize the conflict of ideas in disputational writing. 

"This impressive book bridges the fields of religious studies and comparative literature in order to produce close and sophisticated readings of conversion narratives from the later Middle Ages across a broad array of languages (Latin, Castilian/Catalan, Arabic, and Hebrew). Very few scholars can move so gracefully among these languages and areas of scholarship while offering insights from the minutiae of philological analysis to high literary theory, reflections on the nature of religion, and notions of the self."–Jonathan Decter, Brandeis University

Book reviewers: to request a press copy, contact Saunders Robinson.

Educators: to request an exam copy for course use consideration, click here.

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