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DepositFrom Their Bread to Their Bed: Commensality, Intermarriage, and Idolatry in Tannaitic Literature

In the tannaitic corpus, a novel innovation appears: sharing bread is understood to lead to sharing a bed. As such, the Tannaim problematise and marginalise commensal interactions between Jews and non-Jews. In several instances, commensality with non-Jews is equated with idolatry, the binary opposite of Jewishness in rabbinic literature. While this connection is absent from Hebrew Bible texts and, at best, inchoate in a handful of Second Temple period sources, it is explicit in later amoraic literature. This article explores the gap between these corpora: tannaitic literature, in which we first encounter the rabbinic connection between bread and bed.

DepositThe ‘French-Bread Riot’ of 8 September 1778: The French Fleet and Boston’s Food Supply

On the evening of 8 September 1778, an altercation occurred in Boston between bakers employed making bread for the French fleet anchored offshore and a number of unidentified townspeople. When the crowd asked the bakers for some bread to eat, the bakers refused, so the crowd assaulted both the bakers and a pair of French naval officers who hurried to the scene, severely injuring a number of Frenchmen. One of the officers, a distant relation of the French king, died from his wounds a few days later. Fearful that the incident would irreparably damage the new Franco-American relationship, the American officials in Boston did their utmost to prevent the incident from escalating. All involved found it most convenient to explain away the incident as the actions of a few British provocateurs serving aboard privateers in Boston Harbor. This paper addresses two issues relating to the incident. Firstly, it suggests that those who assaulted the French were in fact Bostonians and that British sailors were blamed purely out of political expediency. Secondly, it investigates whether the riot was primarily motivated by hunger or whether other causes were more prevalent and suggests a mix of factors. This paper uses personal and official correspondence, period newspapers, and judicial records, as well as secondary literature, to examine the socio-economic situation in Boston at the time and the strain the arrival of the French fleet put on supplies in the city.

MemberAdrienne Krone

… Veganism and Vegetarianism SUNY Press (Under Review)

Entries on “Augusta Evans Wilson,” “Bread for the World,” “Eliza Agnew,” “Helen Gates Starr,” “Katherine Womeldorf Paterson…

I research religious food justice movements and teach courses in Jewish studies, food studies, environmental studies, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. My current project is an ethnographic and historical study of the Jewish Community Farming movement in North America.

MemberJames Walters

…Bible Series. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2013.

Ephrem the Syrian’s Hymns on the Unleavened Bread. Texts from Christian Late Antiquity 30. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2011.

Peer-Reviewed…

I teach courses on biblical studies and early Christianity at Rochester College in Michigan. My research is primarily focused on the early Syriac traditions of Christianity, particularly the spread of Christianity within the Persian Empire. More broadly, I am also interested in the reception and transmission of Scripture, Jewish-Christian relations, and post-Chalcedonian Christological disputes.

MemberKeerthi Purushothaman

My MA dissertation was on understanding a particular kind of urban space within Chennai, India, which falls at the intersection of legal pluralism (porosity of land tenure), religiosity (temple-owned land), and public policy (intersecting governance institutions). My broad research interests include urban sociology, land governance, public housing, legal pluralism, and urban sustainability. Having graduated from an interdisciplinary five-year integrated course, my research interests have varied throughout the years. Being exposed to literature from different disciplines without its rigid boundaries has helped me read them in relation to each other. I am also interested in reading philosophy, economic history, poetry, gender theory, and disability studies.

DepositMedicines of the Soul: Reparative Reading and the History of Bibliotherapy

This essay argues that despite its significance within the history of bibliotherapy, Samuel McChord Crothers’s 1916 essay “A Literary Clinic” – in which the term “bibliotherapy” was coined – is a stranger point of origin than proponents have realized, one with implications for conceptualizing reading and its reparative uses more broadly.

DepositOptophonic Reading, Prototyping Optophones

This article details the contributions of blind readers to the development, design, and marketing of the optophone, a text-to-tone transcription machine introduced in the early twentieth century. We combine archival research with prototyping to investigate the dimensions involved in past coding and decoding practices. If archives provide testimonial fragments about individual use, 2D to 3D translation helps scholars to more broadly characterize optophone reading and understand technical affordances. See http://amodern.net/article/optophonic-reading/.

DepositUpper Level German Literature Survey Course Syllabus

This course provides an introduction to German literature from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century. We will read and analyse excerpts from representative works of major writers such as Goethe, Novalis, Büchner, Kafka, and Hesse. Focus will be placed on literary style, history of ideas (Ideengeschichte), and reflections on language as a means of representation. Through both close readings and comparisons of texts within the course, students will learn to appreciate and think critically about the literary qualities of the German language, but also to entertain broader questions about tradition and breaks with tradition. This is a reading and writing intensive course. In addition to the readings in German, there will be weekly writing activities and occasional lectures. Assignments and class discussion will also be in German. English will only be used occasionally for purposes of clarification. Students are expected to have read all texts before the scheduled class discussions. Active, continuous participation is required. Perfect German is not necessary, but a genuine effort to communicate in German is expected. All assignments are to be completed in German.

MemberPaul Ilie

I am a maverick scholar and literary critic who, despite academic habits and values ingrained during the 1950s, also lives a non-specialist second life by reading across the humanities, sciences, and political history. I relish analytically disputing issues with other introspective, driven readers of Western literature and lovers of art and classical music. If the topic is broad, I demand supportive detail, and if narrow, I want to understand the wider context. To make sense of it all and to air occasional exasperations, I also write short stories. You can google my name for a professional profile.