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Are You Not a Man of God?Devotion, Betrayal, and Social Criticism in Jewish Tradition$
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Tova Hartman and Charlie Buckholtz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199337439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199337439.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 April 2021

“It is Not in Heaven!” and Other Hurtful Words: Circling the Snake Oven

“It is Not in Heaven!” and Other Hurtful Words: Circling the Snake Oven

(p.46) 2 “It is Not in Heaven!” and Other Hurtful Words: Circling the Snake Oven
Are You Not a Man of God?

Tova Hartman

Charlie Buckholtz

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the Talmudic story “Snake Oven,” which is considered by many as a triumphant source-text for human autonomy as a Jewish religious value. It discusses the dominant reading of this story and suggests that the climactic exclamation, “It is not in heaven!” may be interpreted not as a climax at all but the conclusion of an overture whose moral and spiritual implications are played out in the narrative that follows. An analysis of the story based on the broader Talmudic sugya or pericope suggests that its prominent theme is devoted resistance, or the insistence of holding onto multiple values and relationships in the face of these values and relationships being desecrated by the very culture heroes charged to teach and represent them.

Keywords:   Snake Oven, Jewish religious value, Talmudic story, human autonomy, climactic exclamation, Talmudic sugya, devoted resistance, multiple values, multiple relationships

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