New Books Network

Marion Kaplan, “Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal” (Yale UP, 2020)
Marion Kaplan’s riveting book,  Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal (Yale University Press) describes the dramatic experiences of Jewish refugees as they fled Hitler’s regime and then lived in limbo in Portugal until they could reach safer havens abroad. Drawing attention not only to the social and physical... Read More
Alice Connor, “Fierce: Women of the Bible and Their Stories of Violence, Mercy, Bravery, Wisdom, Sex, and Salvation” (Fortress, 2017)
Women in the Bible aren’t shy or retiring; they’re fierce and funny and demanding and relevant to 21st-century people. Women in the Bible—some of their names we know, others we’ve only heard, and others are tragically unnamed. In Fierce: Women of the Bible and Their Stories of Violence, Mercy, Bravery,... Read More
Richard Breitman, “The Journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies”(Oxford Academic/USHMM)
The Journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies is turning twenty-five.  One of the first academic journals focused on the study of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies, it has been one of a few journals that led the field in new directions. So it seemed appropriate to mark the moment by talking with... Read More
Paula Fredriksen, “When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation” (Yale UP, 2018)
How did a group of charismatic, apocalyptic Jewish missionaries, working to prepare their world for the impending realization of God’s promises to Israel, end up inaugurating a movement that would grow into the gentile church? Committed to Jesus’s prophecy—“The Kingdom of God is at hand!”—they were, in their own eyes,... Read More
A Very Square Peg: A Podcast Series about Polymath Robert Eisler. Episode 8: A Very Difficult Man to Kill
Following the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in March of 1938, Robert Eisler wrote to Oxford asking about being appointed to the Wilde Readership in Comparative and Natural Religion, thereby gaining a way out of Nazi-controlled Europe. On the day after Hitler held a rally at the Heldenplatz in... Read More
Schneur Zalman Newfield, “Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism” (Temple UP, 2020)
Those who exit a religion—particularly one they were born and raised in—often find themselves at sea in their efforts to transition to life beyond their community. In Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020), Schneur Zalman Newfield, who went through this process himself, interviews... Read More
Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel, “Holiness and Transgression: Mothers of the Messiah in the Jewish Myth” (ASP, 2017)
In this interview, Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel discusses her first book, Holiness and Transgression Mothers of the Messiah in the Jewish Myth, with Rachel Adelman.  Translated by Eugene Matansky and published by Academic Studies Press in 2017, it was originally written in Hebrew as Kedeshot ukedoshot: Imahot hamashiah bamythos hayehudi (2014). ... Read More
Adam Brown, “Judging ‘Privileged’ Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the ‘Grey Zone'” (Berghahn, 2015)
The Nazis’ persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust included the creation of prisoner hierarchies that forced victims to cooperate with their persecutors. Many in the camps and ghettos came to hold so-called “privileged” positions, and their behavior has often been judged as self-serving and harmful to fellow inmates. Such... Read More
Yitzhak Lewis, “Permanent Beginning: R. Nachman of Braslav and Jewish Literary Modernity” (SUNY Press, 2020)
The Hasidic leader R. Nachman of Braslav (1772–1810) has held a place in the Jewish popular imagination for more than two centuries. Some see him as the (self-proclaimed) Messiah, others as the forerunner of modern Jewish literature. Existing studies struggle between these dueling readings, largely ignoring questions of aesthetics and... Read More
Mara Benjamin, “The Obligated Self: Maternal Subjectivity and Jewish Thought” (Indiana UP, 2018)
In this talk, Rachel Adelman engages Mara Benjamin in a conversation about her most recent book, The Obligated Self—Maternal Subjectivity and Jewish Thought (Indiana University Press, 2018). Benjamin contends that the physical and psychological work of caring for children presents theologically fruitful but largely unexplored terrain for feminists. Attending to... Read More