פרסומים נבחרים

Measuring Shadows: Kepler’s Optics of Invisibility
חן-מוריס רז. Measuring Shadows: Kepler’s Optics of Invisibility. Pennsylvania State University Press; 2016 'עמ. 264.תקציר

In Measuring Shadows, Raz Chen-Morris demonstrates that a close study of Kepler’s Optics is essential to understanding his astronomical work and his scientific epistemology. He explores Kepler’s radical break from scientific and epistemological traditions and shows how the seventeenth-century astronomer posited new ways to view scientific truth and knowledge. Chen-Morris reveals how Kepler’s ideas about the formation of images on the retina and the geometrics of the camera obscura, as well as his astronomical observations, advanced the argument that physical reality could only be described through artificially produced shadows, reflections, and refractions.

Breaking from medieval and Renaissance traditions that insisted upon direct sensory perception, Kepler advocated for instruments as mediators between the eye and physical reality, and for mathematical language to describe motion. It was only through this kind of knowledge, he argued, that observation could produce certainty about the heavens. Not only was this conception of visibility crucial to advancing the early modern understanding of vision and the retina, but it affected how people during that period approached and understood the world around them.

Invisible Hands: Self-Organization and the Eighteenth Century
ורמן דרור. Invisible Hands: Self-Organization and the Eighteenth Century. University of Chicago Press; 2015 'עמ. 384.תקציר

Why is the world orderly, and how does this order come to be? Human beings inhabit a multitude of apparently ordered systems—natural, social, political, economic, cognitive, and others—whose origins and purposes are often obscure. In the eighteenth century, older certainties about such orders, rooted in either divine providence or the mechanical operations of nature, began to fall away. In their place arose a new appreciation for the complexity of things, a new recognition of the world’s disorder and randomness, new doubts about simple relations of cause and effect—but with them also a new ability to imagine the world’s orders, whether natural or manmade, as self-organizing. If large systems are left to their own devices, eighteenth-century Europeans increasingly came to believe, order will emerge on its own without any need for external design or direction.

In Invisible Hands, Jonathan Sheehan and Dror Wahrman trace the many appearances of the language of self-organization in the eighteenth-century West. Across an array of domains, including religion, society, philosophy, science, politics, economy, and law, they show how and why this way of thinking came into the public view, then grew in prominence and arrived at the threshold of the nineteenth century in versatile, multifarious, and often surprising forms. Offering a new synthesis of intellectual and cultural developments, Invisible Hands is a landmark contribution to the history of the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century culture.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
הררי יובל נח. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. McClelland & Stewart; 2014 'עמ. 512.תקציר

100,000 years ago, at least six species of human inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. 
Homo Sapiens
     How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? 
     In Sapiens, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical -- and sometimes devastating -- breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology, and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come? 
     Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power...and our future.

Practicing Piety in Medieval Ashkenaz: Men, Women, and Everyday Religious Observance
באומגרטן אלישבע. Practicing Piety in Medieval Ashkenaz: Men, Women, and Everyday Religious Observance. University of Pennsylvania Press; 2014 'עמ. 344.תקציר

In the urban communities of medieval Germany and northern France, the beliefs, observances, and practices of Jews allowed them to create and define their communities on their own terms as well as in relation to the surrounding Christian society. Although medieval Jewish texts were written by a learned elite, the laity also observed many religious rituals as part of their everyday life. In Practicing Piety in Medieval Ashkenaz, Elisheva Baumgarten asks how Jews, especially those who were not learned, expressed their belonging to a minority community and how their convictions and deeds were made apparent to both their Jewish peers and the Christian majority.

Practicing Piety in Medieval Ashkenaz provides a social history of religious practice in context, particularly with regard to the ways Jews and Christians, separately and jointly, treated their male and female members. Medieval Jews often shared practices and beliefs with their Christian neighbors, and numerous notions and norms were appropriated by one community from the other. By depicting a dynamic interfaith landscape and a diverse representation of believers, Baumgarten offers a fresh assessment of Jewish practice and the shared elements that composed the piety of Jews in relation to their Christian neighbors.

A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish: Christians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany
אלידע איה. A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish: Christians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany. Stanford University Press; 2012 'עמ. 280.תקציר

This book explores the unique phenomenon of Christian engagement with Yiddish language and literature from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the late eighteenth century. By exploring the motivations for Christian interest in Yiddish, and the differing ways in which Yiddish was discussed and treated in Christian texts, A Goy Who Speaks Yiddishaddresses a wide array of issues, most notably Christian Hebraism, Protestant theology, early modern Yiddish culture, and the social and cultural history of language in early modern Europe.

Elyada's analysis of a wide range of philological and theological works, as well as textbooks, dictionaries, ethnographical writings, and translations, demonstrates that Christian Yiddishism had implications beyond its purely linguistic and philological dimensions. Indeed, Christian texts on Yiddish reveal not only the ways in which Christians perceived and defined Jews and Judaism, but also, in a contrasting vein, how they viewed their own language, religion, and culture.

Weimar Film and Modern Jewish Identity
אשכנזי עופר. Weimar Film and Modern Jewish Identity . Palgrave Macmillan US; 2012 'עמ. 234.תקציר

In reading popular films of the Weimar Republic as candid commentaries on Jewish acculturation, Ofer Ashkenzi provides an alternative context for a re-evaluation of the infamous 'German-Jewish symbiosis' before the rise of Nazism, as well as a new framework for the understanding of the German 'national' film in the years leading to Hitler's regime.

קיצור תולדות האנושות
הררי יובל נח. קיצור תולדות האנושות. הוצאת דביר; 2011 'עמ. 447.תקציר

לפני מאה אלף שנים חיו בכדור הארץ לפחות שישה מינים שונים של אדם. אף לאחד מהם לא היתה חשיבות מיוחדת. תפקידם בטבע לא היה גדול מזה של גורילות, גחליליות או סוסוני ים. לפני כשבעים אלף שנה התחולל שינוי מסתורי כלשהו בתודעתו של אחד ממיני האדם הללו - הומו סאפיינס - ודחף אותו להשתלט על העולם כולו.


ההיסטוריה של הומו סאפיינס מאז ועד היום היא לעתים מזעזעת, לעתים משעשעת ותמיד מרתקת. מה בדיוק קרה להומו סאפיינס לפני שבעים אלף שנה שדחף אותו להשתלט על העולם? איך ולמה נעלמו כל יתר מיני האדם?


 מתי הפך הכלב לידידו הטוב של האדם?
 מתי המציאו את הכסף ואת האלים הגדולים, ומדוע?
 על שום מה סברו כמעט כל החברות האנושיות בהיסטוריה שנשים נחותות מגברים? האם אפשר לקיים חברה אנושית ללא אפליה וללא דעות קדומות?
 האם אפשר לשלוט ביעילות ולאורך זמן בעמים כבושים? כיצד כבשו המדע, הקפיטליזם ואירופה את העולם?
 האם יש להיסטוריה כיוון? האם יש צדק בהיסטוריה?
 האם בני אדם נהיו מאושרים יותר לאורך ההיסטוריה?
 ומה הסיכוי שיהיו בני אדם בכדור הארץ בעוד מאה שנה?


קיצור תולדות האנושות מנסה להציע תשובות על שאלות אלו ואחרות, ולתת סקירת בזק על תהליכי המפתח ונקודות המפנה העיקריות של ההיסטוריה מאז הופעת האדם על בימת העולם ועד ימינו. הספר מזמין אותנו אל מאחורי הקלעים של ההיסטוריה, ומדגיש בפנינו עד כמה משונה היא העלילה, כמה בלתי צפויים הם השחקנים, וכמה מעט אנו יודעים על העבר שלנו.

The Modulated Scream: Pain in Late Medieval Culture
כהן אסתר. The Modulated Scream: Pain in Late Medieval Culture. University of Chicago Press; 2010 'עמ. 384.תקציר

In the late medieval era, pain could be a symbol of holiness, disease, sin, or truth. It could be encouragement to lead a moral life, a punishment for wrong doing, or a method of healing. Exploring the varied depictions and descriptions of pain—from martyrdom narratives to practices of torture and surgery—The Modulated Scream attempts to decode this culture of suffering in the Middle Ages.

Esther Cohen brings to life the cacophony of howls emerging from the written record of physicians, torturers, theologians, and mystics. In considering how people understood suffering, explained it, and meted it out, Cohen discovers that pain was imbued with multiple meanings. While interpreting pain was the province only of the rarified elite, harnessing pain for religious, moral, legal, and social purposes was a practice that pervaded all classes of Medieval life. In the overlap of these contradicting attitudes about what pain was for—how it was to be understood and who should use it—Cohen reveals the distinct and often conflicting cultural traditions and practices of late medieval Europeans. Ambitious and wide-ranging, The Modulated Scream is intellectual history at its most acute.

Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe
באומגרטן אלישבע. Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe. Princeton University Press; 2007 'עמ. 320.תקציר

This book presents a synthetic history of the family--the most basic building block of medieval Jewish communities--in Germany and northern France during the High Middle Ages. Concentrating on the special roles of mothers and children, it also advances recent efforts to write a comparative Jewish-Christian social history.

Elisheva Baumgarten draws on a rich trove of primary sources to give a full portrait of medieval Jewish family life during the period of childhood from birth to the beginning of formal education at age seven. Illustrating the importance of understanding Jewish practice in the context of Christian society and recognizing the shared foundations in both societies, Baumgarten's examination of Jewish and Christian practices and attitudes is explicitly comparative. Her analysis is also wideranging, covering nearly every aspect of home life and childrearing, including pregnancy, midwifery, birth and initiation rituals, nursing, sterility, infanticide, remarriage, attitudes toward mothers and fathers, gender hierarchies, divorce, widowhood, early education, and the place of children in the home, synagogue, and community.

A richly detailed and deeply researched contribution to our understanding of the relationship between Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors, Mothers and Children provides a key analysis of the history of Jewish families in medieval Ashkenaz.

"Believe not Every Spirit": Demonic Possession, Mysticism, and Discernment in Early Modern Catholicism
סלוחובסקי משה. "Believe not Every Spirit": Demonic Possession, Mysticism, and Discernment in Early Modern Catholicism. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press; 2007.תקציר

From 1400 through 1700, the number of reports of demonic possessions among European women was extraordinarily high. During the same period, a new type of mysticism—popular with women—emerged that greatly affected the risk of possession and, as a result, the practice of exorcism. Many feared that in moments of rapture, women, who had surrendered their souls to divine love, were not experiencing the work of angels, but rather the ravages of demons in disguise. So how then, asks Moshe Sluhovsky, were practitioners of exorcism to distinguish demonic from divine possessions?
Drawing on unexplored accounts of mystical schools and spiritual techniques, testimonies of the possessed, and exorcism manuals, Believe Not Every Spiritexamines how early modern Europeans dealt with this dilemma. The personal experiences of practitioners, Sluhovsky shows, trumped theological knowledge. Worried that this could lead to a rejection of Catholic rituals, the church reshaped the meaning and practices of exorcism, transforming this healing rite into a means of spiritual interrogation. In its efforts to distinguish between good and evil, the church developed important new explanatory frameworks for the relations between body and soul, interiority and exteriority, and the natural and supernatural.

 The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England
ורמן דרור.  The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England. Yale University Press; 2006 'עמ. 432.תקציר

Toward the end of the eighteenth century, a radical change occurred in notions of self and personal identity. This was a sudden transformation, says Dror Wahrman, and nothing short of a revolution in the understanding of selfhood and of identity categories including race, gender, and class. In this pathbreaking book, he offers a fundamentally new interpretation of this critical turning point in Western history.
Wahrman demonstrates this transformation with a fascinating variety of cultural evidence from eighteenth-century England, from theater to beekeeping, fashion to philosophy, art to travel and translations of the classics. He discusses notions of self in the earlier 1700s--what he terms the ancien regime of identity--that seem bizarre, even incomprehensible, to present-day readers. He then examines how this peculiar world came to an abrupt end, and the far-reaching consequences of that change. This unrecognized cultural revolution, the author argues, set the scene for the array of new departures that signaled the onset of Western modernity.

אמהות וילדים: חיי משפחה באשכנז בימי הביניים
באומגרטן אלישבע. אמהות וילדים: חיי משפחה באשכנז בימי הביניים. ירושלים: מרכז זלמן שזר; 2005 'עמ. 336.תקציר

אמהות וילדים: חיי משפחה באשכנז בימי הביניים הוא ניסיון ראשון לתאר את תולדותיה של המשפחה היהודית באשכנז בימי הביניים. הספר עוסק בפרק הזמן שמִן הלידה ועד הגיע הילדים לגיל חינוך, בערך בגיל שבע, תוך התמקדות ביחסים שבין ההורים לילדיהם ובמיוחד בין האמהות לילדיהן. המחברת דנה במגוון רחב של מקורות, יהודיים ונוצריים, ובכלל זה כתבי יד שטרם פורסמו, ובאמצעותם היא מציגה תמונה מקיפה של המשפחה היהודית בימי הביניים. אמהות וילדים: חיי משפחה באשכנז בימי הביניים בוחן שורה של נושאים, ובהם: הריון ולידה, מיילדוּת, ברית מילה, טקסי לידה, הנקה, מוות בעריסה, נטישת תינוקות, עקרות ופוריות, ומקומם של הילדים במערכת הערכים של התקופה – כל זאת תוך השוואה מתמדת לחברה הנוצרית. ההשוואה בין החברה היהודית לחברה הנוצרית היא אחת מתרומותיו החשובות של החיבור, שכן היא חושפת את היסודות המשותפים לשתי החברות ומדגימה את החשיבות של ניתוח אורח החיים היהודי על רקע החברה שבה חיו היהודים. בנוסף למתודה ההשוואתית מתבססת המחברת על מתודות מתחום לימודי המִגדר, ובאמצעותן היא משרטטת את מקומם של הגברים והנשים בחברה הימי ביניימית ואת המתחים והשינויים שחלו ביחסים ביניהם. הגרסה האנגלית של הספר, שראתה אור בהוצאת אוניברסיטת פרינסטון, זכתה בפרס קורת לספר הטוב בהיסטוריה יהודית שהתפרסם בשנת 2004. 

Patroness of Paris: Rituals of Devotion in Early Modern France
סלוחובסקי משה. Patroness of Paris: Rituals of Devotion in Early Modern France. Brill; 1998 'עמ. 266.תקציר

The book examines the interactions among religious practices, urbanization processes, and the rise of French Absolutism. It focuses on the cult of Sainte Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, and the ways in which social and political developments in Paris between 1400 and the French Revolution shaped the cult and were, in turn, shaped by it.
The first section analyzes the development of the cult, its liturgy and cult practitioners, in medieval Paris, and the construction of the saint as a patroness of the city.
The second part follows the transformations in public rituals of invocations of the saint, and the appropriations of the cult by municipal and royal authorities.
The third section focuses on the devotional practices and social composition of the lay confraternity in honor of the saint.

News Over the Wires: The Telegraph and the Flow of Public Information in America, 1844–1897
בלונדהיים מנחם. News Over the Wires: The Telegraph and the Flow of Public Information in America, 1844–1897. Harvard University Press; 1994 'עמ. 305.תקציר

"News Over the Wires" tells the story of the development of the news wire service as a business operation strategically positioned between the telegraph industry and the press. This unique history of telegraphic news gathering and news flow evaluates the effect of the innovative technology on the evolution of the concept of news and journalistic practices. It also addresses problems of technological innovation and diffusion. Menahem Blondheim's main concern, however, is the development of oligopoly in business and the control revolution in American society. He traces the discovery of timely news as a commodity, presenting a lively and detailed account of the emergence of the New York Associated Press (AP) as the first private sector national monopoly in the United States, and Western Union as the first industrial one. The book assembles, in a narrative parade of personalities and episodes, a wide-ranging body of primary sources, many of them previously untapped. It reconstructs the career of AP's maverick manager, Daniel H. Craig, and highlights his achievements as one of the most creative and effective, if least appreciated, of America's great system builders. The Associated Press and Western Union provide a novel perspective on processes of modernization and national integration in America. "News Over the Wires" demonstrates the significance of the monopolistic structure of the news business and its important impact on economic development, on the political process, and on social integration in general.

Elections and Electioneering in Rome: a Study in the Political System of the Late Republic
יעקובסון אלכסנדר. Elections and Electioneering in Rome: a Study in the Political System of the Late Republic. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag; 1990 'עמ. 251.תקציר

The books analyses the Roman electoral system under the late Republic and its impact on the Republican political system as a whole. The political system of the Republic is often described as narrowly oligarchic; all forms of popular participation had little real impact on how the Republic was run. Though this view has been challenged in recent years, the Republican electoral system is still widely regarded as controlled and manipulated by the narrow circle of Roman nobility (among other things, through patronage). This book offers a very different picture: a wide popular electorate, free to choose between upper-class candidates who fiercely competed for the votes of the populace and had to make great efforts in order to win popularity with the common people. Competitive popular elections influenced the whole balance of power between the common people and the elite. The books refers, by way of comparison, to modern electoral systems and their impact on the relations between the people and the social and political elite.