Yakir EnglanderJan 17, 2022
The Male Body in Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Theology
Pickwick Publications 2021
How does Ultra-Orthodox Jewish literature describe the male body? What does the body represent? What is the ideal male body? In The Male Body in Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Theology, published in 2021 by Pickwick Publications, Yakir Englander presents a philosophical-theological exploration of the different images of the male body in Ultra-Orthodox literature since the holocaust. The body is not incidental to this community but is the axis by which it tries to understand its meaning and its role in life.
In the first part of the book, Englander explains the “problem of the body” and the different ways that Ultra-Orthodox theology deals with it. These different and even contradictory voices can teach the reader about the shifting of ideas inside Ultra-Orthodox thought in the last decades. The second part of the book focuses on the image of the ideal body and describes how the rabbis train their bodies to reach ultimate form.
Yakir Englander is a scholar and an activist who teaches at the Academy for Jewish Religion and is also a host on the New Books Network.
Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020).