The editors of this fascinating volume of essays provide an introduction that opens with some deferential references to the achievements of Edward Said and the value of his analysis of Orientalism. However, as the introduction proceeds, one element after another of Edward Said's argument in Orientalism is courteously queried, or, in some cases, demolished. The value of the Saidian paradigm (or rather competing paradigms) is questionable and it certainly provides an awkward framework for essays dealing with widely contrasting themes in diverse ways. In particular, there is no consensus among the contributors to this volume as to whether Jews should be seen as the perpetrators of Orientalism in the pejorative sense given currency by Said, or as its victims, and, if its victims, all Jews or only Oriental Jews. Come to that, not all the contributors seem happy with that pejorative sense given to Orientalism.
Orientalism and the Jews contains twelve essays and an introduction. There is no space even to list their titles here, but some of the contributions deserve to be singled out for special mention. Ivan Davidson Kalmar's "Jesus Did Not Wear a Turban" shows how fifteenth-century painters came to use the turban as a marker for the Biblical Jews. Only Jesus, as sort of honorary Aryan, was spared this headgear. Tudor Parfitt's "The Jew in Colonial Discourse" is a bemusingly erudite and widely researched account of attempts in earlier centuries to find the ten lost tribes of Israel in remote parts of the world, including China, Tahiti, and Burma. The lost tribes were even identified with the Maoris of New Zealand and the Iroquois in America.
"Orientalism and the Jewish Historical Gaze" by John M. Efron is a study of two important Jewish Orientalists and one Jewish historian in the nineteenth century. Efron locates the Orientalist studies of Abraham Geiger and Ignaz Goldziher within the context of their conflicts with their own Jewish communities. Goldziher, in particular, made such crucially important contributions to the development of mainstream academic Orientalism that he is the key figure in its development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The decision of Said not to discuss him is hard to explain.
Michael Berkowitz's "Rejecting Zion, Embracing the Orient: The Life and Death of Jacob Israel de Haan" studies the career and eventual murder of a man whose life I would have judged to be too strange for fiction were it not for the fact that Stefan Zweig did indeed write a novel about him.
 Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient (New York: Pantheon, 1978).