Session Title

Jewishness and Animals

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Annegret Oehme

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Washington-Seattle

Presider Name

Annegret Oehme

Paper Title 1

The Dog-Men of Early Yiddish Literature

Presenter 1 Name

Margot B. Valles

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Michigan State Univ.

Paper Title 2

Animal Migrations: Berechiah ha-Nakdan and Medieval Jewish Literary Borrowing

Presenter 2 Name

Caroline Gruenbaum

Presenter 2 Affiliation

New York Univ.

Paper Title 3

"Why Do the Goyim Call Us Dogs?": Animals, Angels, and Jewish Identity in Medieval Europe

Presenter 3 Name

David Shyovitz

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Northwestern Univ.

Start Date

10-5-2018 10:00 AM

Session Location

Schneider 1355

Description

Traditionally, animals in fables hold up a mirror to the human audience of these tales. These animals are employed to explore what it really means to be human, what qualities are desirable and what dangers failures and vanities may create. Texts such as the 12th century Hebrew collection by the Jewish philosopher Berechiah ben Natronai ha-Nakdan show that Jews did not just consume these tales, but actively reproduced stories about anthropomorphic animals in order to grasp the human condition. And not just in fables; one of the first Yiddish “best sellers,” the Bove Bukh (approx. 1500) puts a dog-like figure at the center of the story, displaying essential features and skills that a hero and a loyal friend should possess. This panel explores how animals are used in discourses about Jewishness. We want to explore the specifics in which animals have been employed within a Jewish context. Often, the first image that comes to mind when discussing animals in the context of Jewishness is the anti-Jewish “Judensau.” This image of Jews suckling a pig, was widespread in the Middle Ages and even found in churches. Yet, this panel wants to go beyond this non-Jewish discourse and rather explore the multitude of ways in which animals are employed in Jewish literature and culture in order to examine what it means to be human.

Annegret Oehme

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 10th, 10:00 AM

Jewishness and Animals

Schneider 1355

Traditionally, animals in fables hold up a mirror to the human audience of these tales. These animals are employed to explore what it really means to be human, what qualities are desirable and what dangers failures and vanities may create. Texts such as the 12th century Hebrew collection by the Jewish philosopher Berechiah ben Natronai ha-Nakdan show that Jews did not just consume these tales, but actively reproduced stories about anthropomorphic animals in order to grasp the human condition. And not just in fables; one of the first Yiddish “best sellers,” the Bove Bukh (approx. 1500) puts a dog-like figure at the center of the story, displaying essential features and skills that a hero and a loyal friend should possess. This panel explores how animals are used in discourses about Jewishness. We want to explore the specifics in which animals have been employed within a Jewish context. Often, the first image that comes to mind when discussing animals in the context of Jewishness is the anti-Jewish “Judensau.” This image of Jews suckling a pig, was widespread in the Middle Ages and even found in churches. Yet, this panel wants to go beyond this non-Jewish discourse and rather explore the multitude of ways in which animals are employed in Jewish literature and culture in order to examine what it means to be human.

Annegret Oehme