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Exodus in the Jewish Experience

Exodus in the Jewish Experience: Echoes and Reverberations investigates how the Exodus has been, and continues to be, a crucial source of identity for both Jews and Judaism. It explores how the Exodus has functioned as the primary model from which Jews have created theological meaning and historical self-understanding. It probes how and why the Exodus has continued to be vital to Jews throughout the unfolding of the Jewish experience. As an interdisciplinary work, it incorporates contributions from a range of Jewish Studies scholars in order to explore the Exodus from a variety of vantage points. It addresses such topics as: the Jewish reception of the biblical text of Exodus; the progressive unfolding of the Exodus in the Jewish interpretive tradition; the religious expression of the Exodus as ritual in Judaism; and the Exodus as an ongoing lens of self-understanding for both the State of Israel and contemporary Judaism. The essays are guided by a common goal: to render comprehensible how the re-envisioning of Exodus throughout the unfolding of the Jewish experience has enabled it to function for thousands of years as the central motif for the Jewish people.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Exodus: Central, Enduring, and Generative, Pamela Barmash Chapter 1: Out of the Mists of History: The Exaltation of the Exodus in the Bible, Pamela Barmash Chapter 2: Discontinuity and Dissonance: Torah, Textuality, and Early Rabbinic Hermeneutics of Exodus, W. David Nelson Chapter 3: The Past as Paradigm: Enactments of the Exodus Motif in Jewish Liturgy, Richard S. Sarason Chapter 4: The Impact of the Exodus on Halakhah (Jewish Law), Reuven Hammer Chapter 5: Passover and Thanatos in Medieval Jewish Consciousness, Kalman P. Bland Chapter 6: Observations on the Biblical Miniatures in Spanish Haggadot, Vivian B. Mann Chapter 7: From Myth to Memory: German Jewish Translations of Exodus 12-13, Abigail E. Gillman Chapter 8: The Desert Comes to Zion: A Narrative Ends its Wandering, Arieh Saposnik

About the Author

Pamela Barmash is associate professor of Hebrew Bible and Biblical Hebrew at Washington University in St. Louis. W. David Nelson is chair of the Department of Religion and Ethics at Groton School.


If you are looking for ways to deepen your understanding and make your Passover Seder more intellectually rich, I highly recommend you read these essays. You will never think about the Exodus in the same way again. -- Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, Temple University In an impressive array of contributions ranging from articulations of the Exodus experience in the Hebrew Bible to rabbinic reinterpretations and performances, from prayer to Jewish law, and from medieval Jewish thought to modern Zionism, the authors of Exodus in the Jewish Experience have produced a magnificent tapestry of collective Jewish memory and consciousness. This collection stands as a rich and expressive response to the Haggadah's injunction, 'In every generation one must look upon oneself as if he or she had personally left Egypt.' -- Hillel J. Kieval, Washington University in St. Louis This volume of essays makes you rethink, and appreciate anew, Jewish liturgy's foundational phrase 'to commemorate the Exodus.' The contributors trace changes in the meaning of this phrase over time and place. As they examine references to the Exodus in Jewish literature, prayer, art, and philosophy, they deepen its symbolic significance. A highly readable collection of essays by experts in a wide variety of fields. -- Rabbi Judith Hauptman, Jewish Theological Seminary

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