Item description for The Artless Jew: Medieval and Modern Affirmations and Denials of the Visual by Kalman P. Bland...
Conventional wisdom holds that Judaism is indifferent or even suspiciously hostile to the visual arts due to the Second Commandment's prohibition on creating "graven images," the dictates of monotheism, and historical happenstance. This intellectual history of medieval and modern Jewish attitudes toward art and representation overturns the modern assumption of Jewish iconophobia that denies to Jewish culture a visual dimension.
Kalman Bland synthesizes evidence from medieval Jewish philosophy, mysticism, poetry, biblical commentaries, travelogues, and law, concluding that premodern Jewish intellectuals held a positive, liberal understanding of the Second Commandment and did, in fact, articulate a certain Jewish aesthetic. He draws on this insight to consider modern ideas of Jewish art, revealing how they are inextricably linked to diverse notions about modern Jewish identity that are themselves entwined with arguments over Zionism, integration, and anti-Semitism.
Through its use of the past to illuminate the present and its analysis of how the present informs our readings of the past, this book establishes a new assessment of Jewish aesthetic theory rooted in historical analysis. Authoritative and original in its identification of authentic Jewish traditions of painting, sculpture, and architecture, this volume will ripple the waters of several disciplines, including Jewish studies, art history, medieval and modern history, and philosophy.
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Studio: Princeton University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.24" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.62" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date Jul 22, 2001
Publisher Princeton University Press
ISBN 069108985X ISBN13 9780691089850
Availability 0 units.
More About Kalman P. Bland
Kalman Bland is Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke University. He is author of Epistle on the Possibility of Conjunction with the Active Intellect and has published widely in scholarly journals.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Artless Jew: Medieval and Modern Affirmations and Denials of the Visual?
Bland and not cohesive Feb 25, 2006
Bland does not adequately connect the medieval and the modern, leaving a gap between the two periods. Further, he is clearly more adept at analyzing the medieval period as his discussion of the modern lacks the same level of critical penetration. In sum, I found Bland's book to be bland.