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The Sword of Judith: Judith Studies Across the Disciplines

The Sword of Judith: Judith Studies Across the Disciplines Kevin R. Brine, Elena Ciletti and Henrike Lähnemann (eds)
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-906924-15-7 £15.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-906924-16-4 £29.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-906924-17-1 £0.00

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These essays, by presenting translations of unpublished manuscripts, analyzing new archival sources, and exploring Judith’s representation in narrative, poetry, art, music and theatre, demonstrate how Judith serves as a template for marking changing views of politics, ethics, gender roles and theology from the Patristic period to the nineteenth century.
Amy-Jill Levine, Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues, 24 (2013): 146-48

These essays brim with new examples, new insights, new comparisons... a quantum leap forward
Lawrence M. Wills, Journal of Biblical Literature, 13 (2011): 244
... [A] very successful and informative work.
— Friedrich V. Reiterer, BN: Biblische Notizen, 158 (2013): 137-38.

The Book of Judith tells the story of a fictitious Jewish woman beheading Holofernes, the general of a powerful army, to free her people. The story has fascinated artists and authors for centuries, and is becoming a major field of research in its own right.

The Sword of Judith is the first multidisciplinary collection of essays to discuss representations of Judith throughout the centuries. Bringing together scholars from around the world, it transforms our understanding of Judith’s enduring story across a wide range of disciplines. The book includes sections on Judith in Christian, Jewish and secular textual traditions, as well as representations of Judith in art, music and theatre. The collection includes new archival source studies and the translation of unpublished manuscripts and texts previously unavailable in English.

This book was published in partnership with the Re:Enlightenment Project.

The Sword of Judith: Judith Studies Across the Discipline
Kevin R. Brine, Elena Ciletti and Henrike Lähnemann (eds) | September 2010
xviii + 511 | 53 black and white illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781906924157
ISBN Hardback: 9781906924164
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781906924171
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0009
Subject codes, BIC: HRCG (Biblical studies and exegesis), HBTB (Social and cultural history); BISAC: REL006740 (Religion / Biblical Studies / Wisdom Literature), MUS048000 (Music / Religious / General), ART015000 (Art / History / General); OCLC Number: 1153340703.


1.  The Judith Project
Kevin R. Brine

2. The Jewish Textual Traditions
Deborah Levine Gera

3. Judith in the Christian Tradition
Elena Ciletti and Henrike Lähnemann

Part 1. Writing Judith

1.1 Jewish Textual Traditions

4. Holofernes's Canopy in the Septuagint
Barbara Schmitz

5. Shorter Medieval Hebrew Tales of Judith
Deborah Levine Gera

6. Food, Sex, and Redemption in Megillat Yehudit (the "Scroll of Judith")
Susan Weingarten

7. Shalom bar Abraham's Book of Judith in Yiddish
Ruth von Bernuth and Michael Terry

1.2 Christian Textual Tradition

8. Typology and Agency in Prudentius's Treatment of the Judith Story
Marc Mastrangelo

9. Judith in Late Anglo-Saxon England
Tracey-Anne Cooper

10. The Prayer of Judith in Two Late-Fifteenth-Century French Mystery Plays
John Nassichuk

11. The Example of Judith in Early Modern French Literature
Kathleen M. Llewellyn

12. The Aestheticization of Tyrannicide: Du Bartas's La Judit
Robert Cummings

13. The Cunning of Judith in Late Medieval German Texts
Henrike Lähnemann

14. The Role of Judith in Margaret Fell's Womens Speaking Justified
Janet Bartholomew 

Part 2. Staging Judith    

2.1 Visual Arts

15. Judith, Jael, and Humilitas in the Speculum Virginum
Elizabeth Bailey

16. Judith between the Private and Public Realms in Renaissance Florence
Roger J. Crum

17. Donatello's Judith as the Emblem of God's Chosen People
Sarah Blake McHam

18. Costuming Judith in Italian Art of the Sixteenth Century
Diane Apostolos-Cappadona

19. Judith Imagery as Catholic Orthodoxy in Counter-Reformation Italy
Elena Ciletti

2.2 Music and Drama

20. Judith, Music, and Female Patrons in Early Modern Italy
Kelley Harness

21. Judith in Baroque Oratorio
David Marsh

22. Judith in the Italian Unification Process, 1800-1900
Paolo Bernardini

23. Marcello and Peri's Giuditta (1860)
Alexandre Lhâa

24. Politics, Biblical Debates, and French Dramatic Music on Judith after 1870
Jann Pasler

25. Judith and the "Jew-Eaters" in German Volkstheater
Gabrijela Mecky Zaragoza




Kevin R. Brine, the founder and director of the Judith Project, is an independent scholar and visual artist. He currently holds the position of Chairman on the Dean's Council at New York University within the Division of Libraries, and is also the co-founder, with Clifford Siskin, of  The Re: Enlightenment Project at New York University and The New York Public Library. Brine co-edited, with Garland Cannon, Object of Enquiry: The Life, Contributions and Influence of Sir William Jones (1746-1797) (1995). His paintings are published in Kevin R. Brine: The Porch of the Caryatids: Drawings, Paintings and Sculptures (2006).

Elena Ciletti is a Professor of Art History at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, where she teaches Renaissance through to eighteenth-century art in Europe, women artists and their patrons, and African-American art. Among her publications are the essays "Patriarchal Ideology in Renaissance Iconography of Judith," in Refiguring Woman: Perspectives on Gender and the Italian Renaissance (1991) and "'Gran macchina è bellezza:' Looking at the Gentileschi Judiths," in The Artemisia Files (2005). She is working on a book-length study of Artemisia Gentileschi and the imagery of Judith in Catholic Reformation culture.

Henrike Lähnemann holds a Chair in Medieval German at Oxford University. Her main areas of research are medieval German literature in the Latin context, manuscript studies and the interface of text and image. In 2006, she published a monograph on medieval German versions of the Book of Judith (Hystoria Judith. Deutsche Judithdichtungen vom 11. bis zum 16. Jahrhundert) which will come out in a revised English edition with Open Book Publishers.

A vast collection of images of Judith and Holofernes is available on ARTstor. Further information about the collection is available here. For those with institutional access to ARTstor, the URL for the collection itself is here.

The New York Public Library is host to The Judith Project, which is a multidisciplinary collaborative effort under the academic guidance of a distinguished panel of Judith scholars from around the world. The mission of The Judith Project is to enhance scholarship on The Book of Judith and on the theme of Judith and Holofernes in Western culture from antiquity to the present. More information, together with a comprehensive bibliographic reference tool, can be found archived here.
The Sword of Judith is a wide-ranging collection of essays concerned mainly with the many guises in which the story of Judith appears in both Jewish and Christian tradition from pre-Christian times through the Middle Ages to the Counter-Reformation. [...] This breadth is welcome and refreshing and gives an idea of the richness of the Judith material.[...] [it] contains a wealth of interesting, learned, and useful material.
– Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly
Modern Language Review 107 (April 2012), pp. 663-65

This was a truly collaborative project with very impressive results. In a review of a collection of essays it is customary to say that some are more successful than others, but since these essays cover different aspects of the Judith tradition in a thoroughly complementary way, they all contribute. [...] The essays brim with new examples, new insights, new comparisons. For those of us who have been scouring the literature for years looking for scholarship on the shifting interpretation of Judith, it is a quantum leap forward.
Lawrence M. Wills
Professor of Biblical Studies
Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge MA
You can read Wills's full review from the Journal of Biblical Literature here.

The Sword of Judith collects essays across a huge range of disparate approaches. It also is a new kind of book: you can buy it as a bound volume, or read it on a website with free access and a very large number of hyperlinks to a range of original texts, articles and studies, discussion threads, and, of course, images. [...] The essays are by authors learned in fields of unusual variety (hence the subtitle), who write informatively about a small number of characters who have offered material for retelling and ethical argument for over 2,000 years.
Ruth Morse
Times Literary Supplement (10 December 2010), p. 27