Re: Query: Jewish Sources on Physiognomy & explanation of physical deformity

For an interesting polemical passage on the ugliness of Jews vs. the handsomeness of Gentiles (with a pro-Jewish spin), see David Berger, The Jewish-Christian Debate in the High Middle Ages: A critical edition of the Nizzahon Vetus, Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1979, pp. 224, 340

Gershon Bacon
Bar-Ilan University

Re: Query: Jewish Sources on Physiognomy & explanation of physical deformity

Some Talmudic references (Babylonian Talmud):

Ugliness: Ta'anit 20b; Ta'anit 7a-b.
Dreams of deformity: Berachot 56b.
Particular case of Rabbi Yochanan: Bava Metzia 84a; Berachot 5b; Bava Kamma 117a.
Aesthetics generally: Shavuot 15a (see commentaries); Menachot 110a; Shabbat 133b.

Re: Query: Jewish Sources on Physiognomy & explanation of physical deformity

For the question of Israel M. Sandman in regard to Jewish discussions of physiognomy – here are several sources:

Yehuda Liebes, Hakarat Panim baKabbalah (Physiognomy in Kabbalah), Pe'amim (Studies in Oriental Jewry) 104, pp. 21-40.

Moshe Idel, Panim: on facial re-presentation in Jewish thought: Some correlations instances, in Nurit Yaari (ed.), On Interpretation in the Arts: Interdisciplinary Studies in Honor of Moshe Lazar. Tel Aviv, 2000, 21-56, pp. 21-56.

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