The Jew and the Animal Question

Bruce Rosenstock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The four books under review examine the way that human animality is figured in Jewish texts, from the Talmud's Tractate 'Avodah Zarah to contemporary Israeli and American novels. These texts agree on the lability and transmutability of human animality, and they seek to demonstrate how human animality can accommodate hierarchical divisions within itself but only imperfectly and never permanently. The theory of the anthropological machine advanced in several works by Giorgio Agamben is brought into conversation with these Jewish texts, and it is argued that these texts call into question Agamben's claim that the anthropological machine can only be resisted through relating to it in the Pauline modality of the "as if not." Resistance, it is argued, is possible from within the resources of human animality's radical openness.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-147
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Agamben
  • animal question
  • Talmud
  • literature
  • Kafka


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