Antropologicheskij forum, 2020, no. 44


A Review of Т. G. EMELYANENKO, E. E. NOSENKO-STEIN (eds.), EVREI [JEWS]. Moscow: Nauka, 2018, 783 pp. (Narody i kultury [Peoples and Cultures])

Viktor Kelner

European University at St Petersburg
6/1А Gagarinskaya Str., St Petersburg, Russia

Abstract: The volume under review is part of the well-known “Peoples and Cultures” series intended to cover the entire complex of history and culture of the peoples inhabiting the territory of Russia. The authors and editors of the book sought to give as complete a picture as possible of the origin and history of the Jewish people and their everyday life, mainly in Russia. The book considers the issues of the ethnopolitical history of the Jews, their religion, the use of their languages, peculiarities of folklore, art, and folk traditions. Of particular interest are sections on the history and ethnographic identity of non-Ashkenazim groups (Georgian and Bukhara Jews and Judaizing groups). Special chapters are devoted to the contemporaneity of Jewish immigrants from the USSR who moved to the United States, Germany, or committed aliyah to their historical homeland, Israel. In essence, the book, created by a large team of specialists, summarizes the development of Judaica studies in Russia. The present review assesses the contribution of this publication to solving the problems that the academic community has faced for several centuries. The authors of the book, as a rule, do not impose the “single truth” point of view on the reader: they give different versions and interpretations, representing the Jewry as a form of group identity bound by common cultural features. Thus, without resorting polemics, they avoid answering the eternal question: do the Jewish people exist as a single whole?

Keywords: Jews, Russia, the Jewish question, Ashkenazi, ethnopolitical history, assimilation, Zionism, refuseniks, repatriation, emigration.

To cite: Kelner V., ‘A Review of Т. G. Emelyanenko, E. E. Nosenko-Stein (eds.), Evrei [Jews]. Moscow: Nauka, 2018, 783 pp. (Narody i kultury [Peoples and Cultures])’, Antropologicheskij forum, 2020, no. 44, pp. 155–165.

doi: 10.31250/1815-8870-2020-16-44-155-165