The Aroma of Righteousness: Scent and Seduction in Rabbinic Life and Literature

Paperback | October 22, 2014

byDeborah A. Green

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In The Aroma of Righteousness, Deborah Green explores images of perfume and incense in late Roman and early Byzantine Jewish literature. Using literary methods to illuminate the rabbinic literature, Green demonstrates the ways in which the rabbis’ reading of biblical texts and their intimate experience with aromatics build and deepen their interpretations. The study uncovers the cultural associations that are evoked by perfume and incense in both the Hebrew Bible and midrashic texts and seeks to understand the cultural, theological, and experiential motivations and impulses that lie behind these interpretations. Green accomplishes this by examining the relationship between the textual traditions of the Hebrew Bible and Midrash, the surviving evidence from the material culture of Palestine in the late Roman and early Byzantine periods, and cultural evidence as described by the rabbis and other Roman authors.

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In The Aroma of Righteousness, Deborah Green explores images of perfume and incense in late Roman and early Byzantine Jewish literature. Using literary methods to illuminate the rabbinic literature, Green demonstrates the ways in which the rabbis’ reading of biblical texts and their intimate experience with aromatics build and deepen t...

Deborah A. Green is Greenberg Associate Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature in the Department of Religious Studies and Director of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at the University of Oregon.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:October 22, 2014Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271050667

ISBN - 13:9780271050669

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Note on Style

1. Tracking the Trail of Scent: An Introduction

2 . The Aroma of Daily Life: Aromatics in Roman and Rabbinic Culture

3. Election and the Erotic: Biblical Portrayals of Perfume and Incense

4 . Spicy Ideologies: Fragrance and Rabbinic Beliefs

5. Soothing Odors: Death, Suffering, and Sacrifice

6. Ephemerality and Fragrance: Desire for Divine Immanence

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Green’s book shows us how the rabbinic authors of the midrashim she discusses, as well as texts of the Bible itself, used aromas in their imagery to think with, and not (merely) because they smell nice.”

—Yehudah Cohn, Ancient Traditions, New Conversations: The Blog of the Center for Jewish Law