Thursday, September 09, 2004

History of Kashrut and Bloom's "Jewishness"

Here are three links that may prove of some interest to those of you interested in exploring Bloom's relationship with Jewish dietary laws as well as his (and Joyce's) relationship with Judaism.




The first link is to a short article on Joyce's relationships with Jewish friends and some scholarship of the time relating to Jewish identity, particularly Weininiger's Sex and Character, which examines some prevailing ideas of Jewish self-hatred and misogyny.

The second link is a recent article from The Irish Times regarding conflicting debates over Bloom's Jewish identity.

The last link is a fairly general look at Jewish dietary laws and, of more interest to me, their history. In the eighth episode of Ulysses, Bloom references kosher custom in regard to hygiene (lines 750-755). One possible historical explanation of Kosher law links the creation of those laws with potential hygienic dangers of the period (for example, the fat content of pork may have led to physical illness). Another even more interesting hypothesis regarding the creation of Kashrut laws suggests that they were developed in order to separate (and thereby preserve through intermarriage) Jews from the general population through everyday customs (eating) and physical appearance (circumcision).


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