David I. Shyovitz
A Remembrance of his Wonders
Nature and the Supernatural in Medieval Ashkenaz
University of Pennsylvania Press 2017
New Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Jewish StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network June 26, 2017 David Gottlieb
In A Remembrance of His Wonders: Nature and the Supernatural in Medieval Ashkenaz (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), David I. Shyovitz, Associate Professor of History, and of Jewish and Israel Studies, at Northwestern University, plumbs the worldview and theology of the Hasidei Ashkenaz, the Jewish Pietists, who flourished in the Rhine Valley and in Regensburg in the 12th and 13th centuries. Professor Shyovitz marshals compelling evidence to show that the Pietists submitted both the natural world and the human body to close and disciplined empirical study. While they were fascinated by inexplicable phenomena, bodily transformation, spells and incantations, and even bodily and effluvia and excrement, the Pietists’ fascination was driven by their effort to forge links between the natural world and their theological worldview.
David Gottlieb is a PhD Candidate in the History of Judaism at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His research focuses on interpretations of the Binding of Isaac and the formation of Jewish cultural memory. He can be reached at [email protected].