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Does David Still Play Before You?

Israeli Poetry and the Bible

David C. Jacobson

Israel and Middle East, Jewish Studies, Literary Criticism and Theory

Hardback
Published: June 1997
ISBN: 9780814326237
Pages: 288 Size: 6x9
Review

The selection of poems studied is dazzling in its richness and variety. The volume is a tour de force.

— Arnold J. Band

Does David Still Play Before You? explores the ways that contemporary Israeli poets have made use of images from the Bible in their poetry. Through close readings of fifty poems, featured in their original Hebrew and in English translation, David Jacobson studies how Israeli poets respond to and incorporate the Bible in their work and reflect on the presence of the Bible in contemporary Israeli culture. The book provides a stunning collection of powerful and moving voices. Jacobson organizes the works according to subjects that recur with great frequency in Israeli poetry based on the Bible: the Arab-Israel conflict, responses to the Holocaust, relations between men and women, and modern challenges to traditional religious faith. Jacobson's literary analysis is informed by an astute awareness of the role of the Bible in Israeli culture. This volume is the first comprehensive study of the use of the Bible by Israeli poets, a phenomenon that is central to the development of Israeli poetry.

David C. Jacobson, an associate professor of Judaic Studies at Brown University, earned his Ph.D. from UCLA. He is the author of Modern Midrash: The Retelling of Traditional Jewish Narratives by Tewentieth-Century Hebrew Writers.

Jacobson's Does David Still Play Before You? is a bold venture in criticism since it treats a major aspect of modern Hebrew poetry, its Biblical resonances, yet goes far beyond the routine evocation of 'Biblical allusions.' Like any study of intertextuality, it demonstrates how cultural texts of the past are appropriated and assimilated in modern creative works . . . The selection of poems studied is dazzling in its richness and variety. The volume is a tour de force.

– Arnold J. Band, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, UCLA