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An Early History of Compassion

An Early History of Compassion
Emotion and Imagination in Hellenistic Judaism


  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107146266

£ 80.00

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About the Authors
  • In this book, Françoise Mirguet traces the appropriation and reinterpretation of pity by Greek-speaking Jewish communities of Late Antiquity. Pity and compassion, in this corpus, comprised a hybrid of Hebrew, Greek, and Roman constructions; depending on the texts, they were a spontaneous feeling, a practice, a virtue, or a precept of the Mosaic law. The requirement to feel for those who suffer sustained the identity of the Jewish minority, both creating continuity with its traditions and emulating dominant discourses. Mirguet's book will be of interest to scholars of early Judaism and Christianity for its sensitivity to the role of feelings and imagination in the shaping of identity. An important contribution to the history of emotions, it explores the role of the emotional imagination within the context of Roman imperialism. It also contributes to understanding how compassion has come to be so highly valued in Western cultures.

    • The book approaches Judeo-Hellenistic literature from the innovative perspective of emotions and offers an in-depth study of pity/compassion in regard to its historical development and to its different social functions, especially in regard to the construction of identity, making it appealing to scholars of ancient Judaism and Christianity who are seeking alternative approaches
    • The book also explores the textual/imaginative foundation on which early Christians draw in their discourses on compassion, making it appealing to scholars of Christianity who deal with compassion and other related virtues/emotions
    • The book explores the history of a popular emotion in contemporary Western societies: compassion - making it appealing to those interested in the larger history of compassion, especially in regard to its transformation into a virtue and its political uses
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107146266
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Between power and vulnerability
    2. Found in translation
    3. Within the fabric of society
    4. Bonds in flux
    5. In dialogue with the Empire
    Conclusion. A discourse of the other.

  • Author

    Françoise Mirguet, Arizona State University
    Françoise Mirguet (Ph.D., Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, 2007) is an Associate Professor of Hebrew and Near Eastern Cultures at Arizona State University, where she is also a member of the Center for Jewish Studies. She has been the recipient of a post-doctoral fellowship from the Belgian Research Council (2007–2010); she has also been a fellow at the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies (2013), at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (2015), and at the Harvard Center for Jewish Studies (2016–2017). Her first book was published in 2009; she has also published several peer-reviewed articles.

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