Exile and the Jews Literature, History, and Identity

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  • Nancy E. Berg (editor)
  • Marc Saperstein (editor)
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About the Book

Save 40% off this volume with coupon code 6AS24.
Save 50% off when you purchase 10 or more copies with coupon code 6EXILE50.

April 2024

This first comprehensive anthology examining Jewish responses to exile from the biblical period to our modern day gathers texts from all genres of Jewish literary creativity to explore how the realities and interpretations of exile have shaped Judaism, Jewish politics, and individual Jewish identity for millennia. Ordered along multiple arcs—from universal to particular, collective to individual, and mythic-symbolic to prosaic everyday living—the chapters present different facets of exile: as human condition, in history and life, in holiday rituals, in language, as penance and atonement, as internalized experience, in relation to the Divine Presence, and more. By illuminating the multidimensional nature of “exile”—political, philosophical, religious, psychological, and mythological—widely divergent evaluations of Jewish life in the Diaspora emerge. The word “exile” and its Hebrew equivalent, galut, evoke darkness, bleakness—and yet the condition offers spiritual renewal and engenders great expressions of Jewish cultural creativity: the Babylonian Talmud, medieval Jewish philosophy, Golden Age poetry, and modern Jewish literature.

Exile and the Jews will engage students, academics, and general readers in contemplating immigration, displacement, evolving identity, and more.


“Carefully researched and beautifully presented to create cross-generational conversations, moving from universal and existential to collective Jewish expressions of the diasporic condition, Exile and the Jews is accessible to the general reader as well as providing an invaluable resource for the student or scholar of Jewish studies.”—Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, author of Booking Passage: Exile and Homecoming in the Modern Jewish Imagination
“I enthusiastically endorse this fascinating anthology as a textbook for higher education.”—Rifat Sonsino, rabbi emeritus, Temple Beth Shalom, Needham, Massachusetts, and author of Modern Judaism

Nancy E. Berg

Nancy E. Berg is a professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the author of Exile from Exile: Israeli Writers from Iraq and coeditor with Naomi B. Sokoloff of the National Jewish Book Award–winning What We Talk about When We Talk about Hebrew (And What It Means to Americans).

Marc Saperstein

Marc Saperstein served as principal and professor of Jewish history and homiletics of the Leo Baeck College, London. His dozen books include “Your Voice like a Ram’s Horn”: Themes and Texts in Traditional Jewish Preaching, a National Jewish Book Award winner in Scholarship, and Agony in the Pulpit: Jewish Preaching in Response to Nazi Persecution and Mass Murder, 1933–1945.

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