- Series: Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Academic Studies Press (January 15, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1618114204
- ISBN-13: 978-1618114204
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,401,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Image of Jews in Contemporary China (Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society)
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"The Image of Jews in Contemporary China, an illuminating volume edited by James Ross and Song Lihong ... covers a great deal of ground in comprehensive fashion ... This surge of interest in all things Jewish among Chinese people is no minor development, and fortunately, it's neatly encapsulated in The Image of Jews in Contemporary China." (Sheldon Kirshner, The Times of Israel, 5 Feb 2017)
“The amazing surge of interest in all things Jewish―Judaism, Jewishness, Jewish Studies―in contemporary China is one of the most remarkable phenomena in the contemporary globalized world. This superb volume of essays is the first to offer a truly sophisticated survey of different aspects of the Chinese-Jewish phenomenon, from the state of the contemporary Chinese-Jewish community in Kaifeng to China-Israel relations to the rise of Jewish Studies as an academic field in Chinese universities. With its many contributions from Chinese scholars in particular, this volume demonstrates the truly advanced level of ‘Jewish’ discourse in contemporary Chinese academic and intellectual life.” (David Stern, Harry Starr Professor of Classical and Modern Hebrew and Jewish Literature, Harvard University)
“In this ground-breaking study, James Ross and Song Lihong have produced a masterfully edited volume covering a wide range of important topics in Jewish studies in China. Authored by leading American and Chinese scholars, the individual chapters of the book offer deep insights on Chinese perception of the Jews and the forces driving the growth of Jewish Studies in China. The Image of Jews in Contemporary China is an unrivaled text in its field.” (Minxin Pei, Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government, Claremont McKenna College)
“You will not find a more revealing and useful series of portraits of Jewish life in China than this fascinating and expertly edited book. With it, a history and sociology of Chinese Jewry is now available for the English readers.” (Samuel Heilman, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Queens College, CUNY)
About the Author
James Rodman Ross is an Associate Professor at Northeastern University in Boston, former Fulbright lecturer at Nanjing University, and author of Fragile Branches: Travels Through the Jewish Diaspora (Riverhead, 2000).
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A brief overview of what is covered can only serve as an introduction. Each essay is worth a close reading.
• "Perceiving Jews in Modern China," by Zhou Xun, offers an analysis of contemporary images (positive and negative) and discusses the growth of the Jewish community in Beijing with its modern mikvah, and thriving kosher restaurants.
• "Images of Jews in Contemporary Books, Blogs and Films," by Co-editor James R. Ross focuses on popular culture examining specific authors and works that spread stereotypes and misunderstandings. Are these evidence of philo-Semitism rather than anti-Semitism?
• "Distinctiveness: A Major Jewish Characteristic," by Fu Youde examines the differences between Chinese and Jewish ways of thinking, especially on such topics as freedom and equality.
• "Chinese Policy toward Kaifeng Jews," by Xu Xin traces changing historic reaction from ancient times to the present, explaining why the government has denied the Kaifeng Jews recognition as an ethnic group. It is especially interesting to learn the designation "descendents" rather than "Jews" was chosen because it shifts emphasis by "denying Kaifeng's connection with the Jewish people and Israel as a Jewish state."
• "Sukkot and Mid-Autumn Festivals in Kaifeng: Conundrums at the Crossroads of Sino-Judaic Cultural Identity," by Moshe Y. Bernstein follows and is a welcome continuation of Xu Xin's essay as he delineates the various factions now present in the city. This description lays the groundwork for some understanding of what is currently happening in Kaifeng and a changing government policy that is now inhibiting Jewish tourism there. (For further information in this, see[...] )
• Understanding the Bible among the General Public in Mainland China: A Survey on the 'Bullet Curtain' of the Bible," by Meng Zhenhua notes that Chinese are learning more about the Bible from television than from printed sources."Bullet Curtain" refers to interaction from viewers as they react -- shooting metaphorical bullets. All Chinese translations are the work of Christians and include both testaments.
• 'The Changing Image of the State of Israel in the People's Daily, during the Cold War," by She Gangzheng points out how changes are linked to domestic fluctuations in China, including the economic reforms of the 1980's.
• "The Reception of Contemporary Israeli Literature in China," by Zhong Zhiqing examines popular and classical works citing translation data: 114 books and anthologies, 74 works of prose, 5 books of poetry and 27 children's books -- and doubtless even more since this writing. A highlight was the visit of Israeli author Amos Oz in 2007.
• "China's Relationship with Israel, Opportunities and Challenges: Perspectives' from China," by Chen Yiyi breaks new ground by examining the implications of China's rapid economic growth in the past 10 years and the resulting purchases of Israeli technology in agriculture, water purification and telecommunication.
• "Holocaust Studies and Holocaust Education in China," by Glenn Timmerman was one of the first studies of this topic, and illustrates the increased interest when coupled with studies and exhibits on such atrocities as the Nanjing Massacre. As of now, there are no institutes with Holocaust Studies but a study of Shoah is included in most Jewish Studies programs.
• "Reflection of Jewish Studies: A Comparative Perspective," by Co-editor Song Lihong asks a provocative question: "Should we face inward toward satisfying academic colleagues, or should we face outward and endeavor to leaven an undistorted, meaningful, and accessible knowledge of the Jewish people to a broader Chinese audience."
Certainly, this fine volume is a first step towards providing such knowledge for all potential audiences.