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Storm from Paradise

The Politics of Jewish Memory

1992
Author:

Jonathan Boyarin

Storm from Paradise

”An essay in the richest sense of that term, inspired by and modeled on Walter Benjamin’s essays. Based on varied, diverse, and abundantly cross-disciplinary readings, it moves and builds, questions and interrogates, and ultimately convinces us that the Jewish experience with being the ‘other’ and, conversely and recently, with ‘othering’ is indeed relevant to theorists of contemporary culture.” --Marianne Hirsch

”An essay in the richest sense of that term, inspired by and modeled on Walter Benjamin’s essays. Based on varied, diverse, and abundantly cross-disciplinary readings, it moves and builds, questions and interrogates, and ultimately convinces us that the Jewish experience with being the ‘other’ and, conversely and recently, with ‘othering’ is indeed relevant to theorists of contemporary culture.” --Marianne Hirsch

“Storm from Paradise is an essay in the richest sense of that term, inspired by and modeled on Walter Benjamin’s essays. Based on varied, diverse, and abundantly cross-disciplinary readings, it moves and builds, questions and interrogates, and ultimately convinces us that the Jewish experience with being the ‘other’ and, conversely and recently, with ‘othering’ is indeed relevant to theorists of contemporary culture.” Marianne Hirsch, Dartmouth College

"Usefully complicating common sense understandings of history, catastrophe, loss, otherness, and possiblity through reflections on contemporary Jewishness, Boyarin dreaws on Benjamins's famous image of the Angel of Histroy blown into the future by a "storm from paradise" to constantly interrogate and recuperate the past, "without pretending for long that we can recoup its plentitude". The book's seven thoughtful essays are at times deliberately intangible but always worth reading. An important book for the rethinking of the relevance of Jewishness to anthropology and cultural studies." -Religious Studies Review

"An essay in the richest sense of that term, inspired by and modeled on Walter Benjamin's essays. Based on varied, diverse, and abundantly cross-disciplinary readings, it moves and builds, questions and interrogates, and ultimately convinces us that the Jewish experience with being the 'other' and, conversely and recently, with 'othering' is indeed relevant to theorists of contemporary culture." -Marianne Hirsch

Jonathan Boyarin is the Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Distinguished Professor of Modern Jewish Thought in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Storm from Paradise and the editor of Remapping Memory both published by the University of Minnesota Press. He is also the co-editor, with Daniel Boyarin, of Jews and Other Differences (1996) and Powers of Diaspora (2002).

Storm from Paradise

Jonathan Boyarin is the Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Distinguished Professor of Modern Jewish Thought in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Storm from Paradise and the editor of Remapping Memory both published by the University of Minnesota Press. He is also the author of Polish Jews in Paris: Ethnography of Memory and is co-editor, with Jack Kugelmass, of From a Ruined Garden: The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry.

Storm from Paradise

“Storm from Paradise is an essay in the richest sense of that term, inspired by and modeled on Walter Benjamin’s essays. Based on varied, diverse, and abundantly cross-disciplinary readings, it moves and builds, questions and interrogates, and ultimately convinces us that the Jewish experience with being the ‘other’ and, conversely and recently, with ‘othering’ is indeed relevant to theorists of contemporary culture.” Marianne Hirsch, Dartmouth College

Boyarin has crafted seven interlocking essays on the function of memory in contemporary Jewish thought, ranging from an elegant, scholarly evocation of the Orthodox community on the Lower East Side, seen as a palpable embodiment of the dynamics of forgetting, to such seemingly unrelated phenomena as the work of Native American novelist Gerald Vizenor and French Jewish writer Patrick Modiano and, above all, of critic Walter Benjamin. Boyarin’s theme is ‘Othering,’ the process by which Jews and other perennial outsiders are set apart. . . . The book closes with two brilliant and accessible pieces on the place of Jews in the progressive left and the relationship of Jews and Palestinians, offering a balance of racial politics and insistent Jewish identity that challenges facile political correctness. As he sagely points out, ‘the silencing of discourse about Jewish difference’ is accomplished through eliding Jews into the ‘Eurocentric white male’ camp and failing to register the reality of Christianity as a dominant (and often oppressive) force in Western history.

Publisher’s Weekly

“Usefully complicating common sense understandings of history, catastrophe, loss, otherness, and possiblity through reflections on contemporary Jewishness, Boyarin dreaws on Benjamins’s famous image of the Angel of Histroy blown into the future by a “storm from paradise” to constantly interrogate and recuperate the past, “without pretending for long that we can recoup its plentitude” (xiv). The book’s seven thoughtful essays are at times deliberately intangible but always worth reading......An important book for the rethinking of the relevance of Jewishness to anthropology and cultural studies.” Virginia R. Dominguez U of CA Santa Cruz, Religious Studies Review, Oct. 1992.