“The Violence of Poverty” (Aryeh Cohen)

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A Talmud piece,  “The Violence of Poverty” by Aryeh Cohen in Leonard J. Greenspoon (ed), Wealth and Poverty in Jewish Tradition. You can read it here.

The idea expressed here that poverty is what Bruno Latour called an “actant” jibes neatly with Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, which I’m reading now. Poverty acts on the human person, whom it disfigures.

The ubiquity of these images of the violence of poverty might cause one to think that the rabbinic response to poverty would be equally dramatic and sweeping. This is not necessarily true. Side by side with the dramatic images of d1e impoverished, the obligations of poverty relief are laid out in a manner that is reasoned and moderate. There is no demand a la Peter Singer or Matthew’s Jesus24 rhar one sell everything beyond the necessities of survival and give them ro the poor. The…

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