Publications

  • Idelson-Shein, Iris. “Kill the Hen that Crows Like a Cock: Animal Encounters in Old Yiddish.” Journal of Jewish Studies 71, no. 2 (2020): 321-344

This article focuses on a selection of Yiddish adaptations of well-known European tales, which were produced during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It examines the ways in which these Old Yiddish tales express concerns surrounding Jewish life in Diaspora, by envisioning strange encounters between humans and animals. The article attempts to untangle the complex discursive web of which these animal-encounter tales formed a part, and which connected notions of humanity and animality with those of religion, gender and class. I argue that in their depictions of aberrant animality, these tales drew on the identification of Jews and animals, as well as on the relationship between animals and violence, to grapple with the dialectical relationship between Yiddish literature and its adjacent Hebrew and German libraries.

  • Goren, Ahuvia. “Benyamin Dias Brandon’s Orot Hamivot (1753): Halacha and Polemics in Eighteenth-Century Amsterdam.” Studia Rosenthaliana 46, no. 1-2 (2020): 189-210

This article considers the halakhic work Orot Hamitzvot (1753) of Benyamin Dias Brandon, and its posthumous co-editor, Isaac Cohen Belinfante. The article situates this publication in the intellectual Portuguese-Jewish milieu of eighteenth-century Amsterdam and the kinds of scholarship and ideals of erudition that were fostered in its Ets Haim yeshiva. More specifically, the article shows how Brandon’s and Belinfante’s work contributed to a wider tradition of literature, flourishing in the early eighteenth-century, that combined halakhic arguments with polemical defenses of rabbinic authority. This literature built on seventeenth-century precedents, but it also broke new ground by incorporating developments in natural science, such as theories of atomism, into halakhic thought.

  • Mayer, Yakov Z. “Elijah of Fulda and the 1710 Amsterdam Edition of the Palestinian Talmud.” Studia Rosenthaliana 46, no. 1-2 (2020): 117-135

Elijah of Fulda was the first Ashkenazi Jew in the Early Modern period to write a commentary on the Palestinian Talmud, printed in Amsterdam in 1710. Through a close reading of the nine approbations that preface Elijah’s commentary, this article reconstructs his itinerary throughout Europe and his journey from relative obscurity to the center of the Hebrew and Jewish book world of his day ‐ Amsterdam. The article argues that although other commentaries replaced that of Elijah of Fulda in popularity in subsequent editions, he should be remembered as the first to establish a tradition of Ashkenazic study of the Palestinian Talmud, and as the scholar who shaped the impagination of subsequent editions.

Forthcoming

  • Idelson-Shein, Iris. "Rabbis of the (Scientific) Revolution: Revealing the Hidden Corpus of Early Modern Translations Produced by Jewish Religious Thinkers.” American Historical Review 126, no. 1. Forthcoming, March 2021.
  • Idelson-Shein, Iris. "Motivations for Translation in the Paratexts of Early Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Translations.” Zion. Forthcoming, Spring 2021. [Hebrew].
  • Idelson-Shein, Iris. "Of Wombs and Words: 
    Migrating Misogynies in Early Modern Medical Literature in Latin and Hebrew
    .” AJS Review. Forthcoming.
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This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 801861).