Front cover image for The music libel against the Jews

The music libel against the Jews

This deeply imaginative and wide-ranging book shows how, since the first centuries of the Christian era, gentiles have associated Jews with noise. Ruth HaCohen focuses her study on a "musical libel"--A variation on the Passion story that recurs in various forms and cultures in which an innocent Christian boy is killed by a Jew in order to silence his "harmonious musicality." In paying close attention to how and where this libel surfaces, HaCohen covers a wide swath of western cultural history, showing how entrenched aesthetic-theological assumptions have persistently defined European culture and its internal moral and political orientations. Ruth HaCohen combines in her comprehensive analysis the perspectives of musicology, literary criticism, philosophy, psychology, and anthropology, tracing the tensions between Jewish "noise" and idealized Christian "harmony" and their artistic manifestations from the high Middle Ages through Nazi Germany and beyond. She concludes her book with a passionate and moving argument for humanizing contemporary soundspaces [Publisher description]
Print Book, English, ©2011
Yale University Press, New Haven, ©2011
Criticism, interpretation, etc
xvi, 507 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
9780300167788, 9780300194777, 0300167784, 0300194773
Introduction : Vocal fictions of noise and harmony
Reciprocated rituals and noisy encounters : music libels and their antidotes
Rethinking and enacting sympathetic worlds : the eighteenth-century oratorical legacies of Bach, Lessing, and Handel
Noise in the house of prayer : ethnography transfigured
"Jews (and Jewesses) like you and me" : vocal imaginaries of Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, Heine, and Halévy
The Judengasse synagogue versus the Temple of the Grail : motives of sympathy and redemptive modes in Daniel Deronda and Parsifal
The aesthetic theology of multivocality : Arnold Schoenberg among alter egos
The end : essentializing Jewish noise in Nazi movies
Epilogue : Reflections on the intersecting boundaries of voice and community
Appendix of music examples