The Jewish Life Cycle
Rites of Passage from Biblical to Modern Times
In a comparative framework, Marcus illustrates how Jewish culture has negotiated with the majority cultures of the ancient Near East, Greco-Roman antiquity, medieval European Christianity, and Mediterranean Islam, as well as with modern secular and religious movements and social trends, to renew itself through ritual innovation.
In his extensive research on the Jewish life cycle, Marcus draws from documents on various customs and ritual practices, offering reassessments of original sources and scholarly literature.
Marcus’s survey is the first comprehensive study of the rites of the Jewish life cycle since Hayyim Schauss's The Lifetime of the Jew was published in 1950, written for Jewish readers. Marcus’s book addresses a broader audience and is designed to appeal to scholars and interested readers.
"This is a compendium that will help affirm well—worn practices and maybe even stimulate the restoration of others. A fascinating read."—Samuel Heilman, Author of When a Jew Dies
"There is nothing as comprehensive, historically oriented, and accessible to a broad readership as The Jewish Life Cycle."—Martin S. Jaffee, University of Washington
"The Jewish Life Cycle is an absolute delight! This book surpasses all previous work in the field and constitutes a significant intellectual achievement that will justly inform and entertain a vast array of readers."—Dr. David Ellenson, President Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion
"A work of true distinction: authoritative in its research, masterful in the elegance of its simplicity and unified by a richly illustrated thesis of laudable sophistication."—Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
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