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The Ethnography of Reading$
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Jonathan Boyarin

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520079557

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520079557.001.0001

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Voices Around the Text: The Ethnography of Reading at Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem

Voices Around the Text: The Ethnography of Reading at Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem

(p.212) Ten: Voices Around the Text: The Ethnography of Reading at Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem
The Ethnography of Reading

Jonathan Boyarin

University of California Press

The quotes from Stephen Greenblatt and Wolfgang Iser suggest that, despite the apparent gap in time, the voices surrounding these texts are mutually dependent and coexistent. This chapter argues that the dialogism between reader and text identified in these quotes should not blind us to the social process among groups of readers collectively constructing given texts. It aims to address three primary issues: the ways people mark themselves as distinct groups through unique recombinations of various cultural genres; the convergence between the concerns of anthropology and those of literary theory in the study of textual practices; and the anthropological understanding of Judaism, insofar as founding texts are critical to the perpetual recreation of Jewish identity.

Keywords:   cultural genres, Jewish identity, anthropology, textual practices, literary theory, Judaism, Stephen Greenblatt, Wolfgang Iser

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