Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man (Contraversions: Critical Studies in Jewish Literature, Culture, and Society)

Boyarin, Daniel

Published by University of California Press, 1997
ISBN 10: 0520200330 / ISBN 13: 9780520200333
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Synopsis: In a book that will both enlighten and provoke, Daniel Boyarin offers an alternative to the prevailing Euroamerican warrior/patriarch model of masculinity and recovers the Jewish ideal of the gentle, receptive male. The Western notion of the aggressive, sexually dominant male and the passive female reaches back through Freud to Roman times, but as Boyarin makes clear, such gender roles are not universal. Analyzing ancient and modern texts, he reveals early rabbis—studious, family-oriented—as exemplars of manhood and the prime objects of female desire in traditional Jewish society.

Challenging those who view the "feminized Jew" as a pathological product of the Diaspora or a figment of anti-Semitic imagination, Boyarin argues that the Diaspora produced valuable alternatives to the dominant cultures' overriding gender norms. He finds the origins of the rabbinic model of masculinity in the Talmud, and though unrelentingly critical of rabbinic society's oppressive aspects, he shows how it could provide greater happiness for women than the passive gentility required by bourgeois European standards.

Boyarin also analyzes the self-transformation of three iconic Viennese modern Jews: Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis; Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism; and Bertha Pappenheim (Anna O.), the first psychoanalytic patient and founder of Jewish feminism in Germany. Pappenheim is Boyarin's hero: it is she who provides him with a model for a militant feminist, anti-homophobic transformation of Orthodox Jewish society today.

Like his groundbreaking Carnal Israel, this book is talmudic scholarship in a whole new light, with a vitality that will command attention from readers in feminist studies, history of sexuality, Jewish culture, and the history of psychoanalysis.

From the Inside Flap: "Daniel Boyarin's work has been instrumental in opening a way for me into Jewish thinking, Jewish history, and Judaism itself. . . . His is a thoroughly dazzling intellect: a scholar, a critical and political thinker, a wit, and a wonderful, passionate writer." —Tony Kushner, author of Angels in America

"Few commentators on the vexed issue of Judaism and gender bring as much passion, courage, and audacity to their work as does Daniel Boyarin. . . . Whatever his or her religious and sexual identity, the reader of Unheroic Conduct cannot fail to be touched by the explosive power of what Boyarin impishly calls 'Jewissance.'"—Martin Jay, author of Downcast Eyes

"Whether citing the ancient Sage Johanon, taking issue with the Zionist Theodor Herzl, or approving the feminist Bertha Pappenheim, Boyarin invites his readers into a lively, generous, and often humorous debate. Here Orthodox Judaism is both celebrated and transformed." —Natalie Zemon Davis, author of Women on the Margins

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Title: Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of ...
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 1997
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Boyarin, Daniel
Published by University of California Press (1997)
ISBN 10: 0520200330 ISBN 13: 9780520200333
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Book Description University of California Press, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: No DJ. 8vo; ex-library markings include stamps/labels/card pocket; head pulled; else good; text unmarked and clean. Orders will be mailed either on the day ordered or the next business day. Expedited shipping available. Bookseller Inventory # 9a37965

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