A Night at the Opera of Talmudic Reasoning: The “Jewishness” of Jewish Cinema


  • Shai Biderman Tel Aviv University, Israel


argumentation, hermeneutics, Jewish cinema, Judaism, logic and reasoning, the Marx Brothers


Jewish cinema is a hybrid concept which invites a multitude of interpretations. It can stand for an anthropological or cultural classification, as well as for historical or film-studies perspectives. While all these are valid paths into the nature of the phenomenon, I find the most revealing path to be that which explores Jewish logic and argumentative techniques, as they appear in predominant Jewish texts.

Hence, my main contention rests on a unique analysis of Talmudic reasoning. I detect a paradigmatic inclination, which underlines the Talmudic argumentation and reasoning, which can be characterized as leaning towards the absurd and as a thematic challenge to conventional logic and traditional argumentation. Once established, I use the films of the Marx brothers to demonstrate the way by which Jewish films are uniquely defined by the way they embrace smarty argumentation and subversive reasoning, to create a unique (and challenging) cinematic point of view.




How to Cite

Biderman, S. (2013). A Night at the Opera of Talmudic Reasoning: The “Jewishness” of Jewish Cinema. Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, (4), 14–27. Retrieved from https://cinema.fcsh.unl.pt/index.php/revista/article/view/71