Holiness and Transgression

Mothers of the Messiah in the Jewish Myth

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Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel
Eugene D. Matansky
Psychoanalysis and Jewish Life
  • Brighton, MA: 
    Academic Studies Press
    , March
     380 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Michael Rosenberg forthcoming.


This volume deals with the female dynasty of the House of David and its influence on the Jewish Messianic Myth. It provides a missing link in the chain of research on the topic of messianism and contributes to the understanding of the connection between female transgression and redemption, from the Bible through Rabbinic literature until the Zohar. The discussion of the centrality of the mother image in Judeo-Christian culture and the parallels between the appearance of Mary in the Gospels and the Davidic Mothers in the Hebrew Bible, stresses mutual representations of "the mother of the messiah" in Christian and Jewish imaginaire. Through the prism of gender studies and by stressing questions of femininity, motherhood and sexuality, the subject appears in a new light. This research highlights the importance of intertwining Jewish literary study with comparative religion and gender theories, enabling the process of filling in the ‘mythic gaps’ in classical Jewish sources. The book won the Pines, Lakritz and Warburg awards.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Ruth Kara Ivanov Kaniel is a lecturer at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies and at the Hebrew University, and is a research fellow at the Tel-Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and at the Shalom Hartman Institute. She is also the head of a Research Group at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Her current research deals with intersections between Jewish mythology, mysticism, gender and psychoanalysis.


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