American Talmud: The Cultural Work of Jewish American Fiction

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SUNY Press, Mar 8, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 233 pages
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In American Talmud, Ezra Cappell redefines the genre of Jewish American fiction and places it squarely within the larger context of American literature. Cappell departs from the conventional approach of defining Jewish American authors solely in terms of their ethnic origins and sociological constructs, and instead contextualizes their fiction within the theological heritage of Jewish culture. By deliberately emphasizing historical and ethnographic links to religions, religious texts, and traditions, Cappell demonstrates that twentieth-century and contemporary Jewish American fiction writers have been codifying a new Talmud, an American Talmud, and argues that the literary production of Jews in America might be seen as one more stage of rabbinic commentary on the scriptural inheritance of the Jewish people.

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About the author (2007)

Ezra Cappell is Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Inter-American Jewish Studies Program at the University of Texas at El Paso.

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