Publications

2010
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.Abstract

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.

2007
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.

2006
 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.

2005
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. 

1998
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.

1994
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.

1990
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.