To Make the Hands Impure: Art, Ethical Adventure, the Difficult and the Holy by Adam Zachary NewtonTo Make the Hands Impure: Art, Ethical Adventure, the Difficult and the Holy by Adam Zachary Newton

To Make the Hands Impure: Art, Ethical Adventure, the Difficult and the Holy

byAdam Zachary Newton

Paperback | December 2, 2014

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How can cradling, handling, or rubbing a text be said, ethically, to have made something happen? What, as readers or interpreters, may come off in our hands in as we maculate or mark the books we read?

For Adam Zachary Newton, reading is anembodied practice wherein "ethics" becomes a matter of tact-in the doubled sense of touch and regard. With the image of the book lying in the hands of its readers as insistent refrain, To Make the Hands Impure cuts a provocative cross-disciplinary swath through classical Jewish texts, modern Jewish philosophy, film and performance, literature, translation, and the material text.

Newton explores the ethics of reading through a range of texts, from the Talmud and Midrash to Conrad's Nostromo and Pascal's Le Mémorial, from works by Henry Darger and Martin Scorsese to the National September 11 Memorial and a synagogue in Havana, Cuba. In separate chapters, he conducts masterly treatments of Emmanuel Levinas, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Stanley Cavell by emphasizing their performances as readers-a trebled orientation to Talmud, novel, and theater/film. To Make the Hands Impure stages the encounter of literary experience and scriptural traditions-the difficult and the holy-through an ambitious, singular, and innovative approach marked in equal measure by erudition and imaginative daring.

Adam Zachary Newton is currently University Professor at Yeshiva University where he holds the Ronald P. Stanton Chair in Literature and the Humanities.
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Title:To Make the Hands Impure: Art, Ethical Adventure, the Difficult and the HolyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:502 pagesPublished:December 2, 2014Publisher:Fordham University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0823263525

ISBN - 13:9780823263523

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"In its important achievement, this book offers a profound rethinking of the postmodern meanings of Jewish tradition. Adam Zachary Newton's privileged tropes of the tactile also stand for his 'tact' of reading as secular midrash. His ethics of reading shows us that the boundaries separating Jewish and other texts ultimately connect the foreign with the native, the distant with the near, without collapsing the two, through an impurity inseparable from the revelation of the other. The utter originality of this book thus consists of its conception of impurity as the redemptive effect of the sacred and its prescient reassertion of Jewish sources in postmodern critical form."