New Release Books by Jo Carruthers

Jo Carruthers is the author of Esther Through the Centuries (2020), The Politics of Purim (2020), England's Secular Scripture (2011) and Applied Positive Psychology (2015).

4 results found

Esther Through the Centuries

release date: Jun 08, 2020
Esther Through the Centuries
This interdisciplinary commentary ranges from early midrashic interpretation to contemporary rewritings introducing interpretations of the only biblical book not to mention God. Unearths a wealth of neglected rewritings inspired by the story’s relevance to themes of nationhood, rebellion, providence, revenge, female heroism, Jewish identity, exile, genocide and ‘multiculturalism’ Reveals the various struggles and strategies used by religious commentators to make sense of this only biblical book that does not mention God Asks why Esther is underestimated by contemporary feminist scholars despite a long history of subversive rewritings Compares the most influential Jewish and Christian interpretations and interpreters Includes an introduction to the book’s myriad representations in literature, music, and art Published in the reception-history series, Blackwell Bible Commentaries

The Politics of Purim

release date: Feb 06, 2020
The Politics of Purim
This book approaches the holiday of Purim as profane, freed to human use and ends, in order to consider the political legacy of the biblical story of Esther in festival and art works. Jo Carruthers explores carnival and synagogue practices, the purimshpiln (Purim's own dramatic genre), illuminated Esther scrolls, as well as artworks by Botticelli, Millais and Jan Steen. The complex and astute interrogation of political life in such festival and artworks is analysed through theories of sovereignty, law, precarity and hospitality by key political thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, and Jacques Rancière. Carruthers considers different motifs of boundary conservation and dissolution, as a means of contemplating the political implications of Purim and the Esther story for diaspora politics. How is sovereignty aspired to and attained by marginalized and threatened communities? How can one respond to the ethical call of hospitality to relax sovereign boundaries whilst protecting and celebrating that which is exceptional? The practice of giving gifts, mishloach manos, offers a model of hospitality that together with Purim's profane impulse is epitomized in the final chapter's discussion of a 2018 Brooklyn purimshpil, that offers a riotous ridiculing of white supremacist rhetoric, norms of domination, capitalist inequalities, modern slavery and ablest identities and assumptions.

England's Secular Scripture

release date: Aug 11, 2011
England's Secular Scripture
By outlining Protestantism and Englishness in early-modern literature to the present-day, this study reveals how other religious identities can be alienated in British society.
4 results found


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