Early Modern Jewry: A New Cultural History

Early Modern Jewry: A New Cultural History

by David B. Ruderman
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691152888

ISBN-13: 9780691152882

Pub. Date: 07/21/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Early Modern Jewry boldly offers a new history of the early modern Jewish experience. From Krakow and Venice to Amsterdam and Smyrna, David Ruderman examines the historical and cultural factors unique to Jewish communities throughout Europe, and how these distinctions played out amidst the rest of society. Looking at how Jewish settlements in the early

Overview

Early Modern Jewry boldly offers a new history of the early modern Jewish experience. From Krakow and Venice to Amsterdam and Smyrna, David Ruderman examines the historical and cultural factors unique to Jewish communities throughout Europe, and how these distinctions played out amidst the rest of society. Looking at how Jewish settlements in the early modern period were linked to one another in fascinating ways, he shows how Jews were communicating with each other and were more aware of their economic, social, and religious connections than ever before.

Ruderman explores five crucial and powerful characteristics uniting Jewish communities: a mobility leading to enhanced contacts between Jews of differing backgrounds, traditions, and languages, as well as between Jews and non-Jews; a heightened sense of communal cohesion throughout all Jewish settlements that revealed the rising power of lay oligarchies; a knowledge explosion brought about by the printing press, the growing interest in Jewish books by Christian readers, an expanded curriculum of Jewish learning, and the entrance of Jewish elites into universities; a crisis of rabbinic authority expressed through active messianism, mystical prophecy, radical enthusiasm, and heresy; and the blurring of religious identities, impacting such groups as conversos, Sabbateans, individual converts to Christianity, and Christian Hebraists.

In describing an early modern Jewish culture, Early Modern Jewry reconstructs a distinct epoch in history and provides essential background for understanding the modern Jewish experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691152882
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/21/2011
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Maps x
Introduction 1

Chapter One?: Jews on the Move 23
The Mobility of Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Period 24
Jewish Migration to Italy and the Ottoman Empire 26
Jewish Migration to Eastern Europe 29
Converso Migration 34
The Social Consequences of Jewish Mobility 37
Did Jewish Mobility Engender Cultural Productivity? 41

Chapter Two: Comm unal Cohesion 57
Italian Communal Developments 59
Converso Communal Organizations: Leghorn and Amsterdam 65
Jewish Communal Organization in Germanic Lands 74
The Jewish Community under Ottoman Rule 81
Jewish Self-Government in Eastern Europe 86
Some Comparative Observations 93

Chapter Three?: Knowledge Explosion 99
The Printed Book and the Creation of a Connected Jewish Culture 99
Further Consequences of the Printing of Jewish Books 103
Christian Hebraists and Their Judaic Publications 111
The Expansion of Cultural Horizons 120
Jewish Medical Students at the University 125

Chapter Four: Crisis of Rabbinic Authority 133
Locating the Beginnings of a Jewish Crisis in the Seventeenth Century 136
The Sabbatean Turmoil of the Eighteenth Century 140
Sabbateanism and the Birth of "Orthodoxy" in the Eighteenth Century 146
Sabbateanism and the Other Crises of Early Modernity: Some Tentative Conclusions 155

Chapter Five?: Mingled Identities 159
The Ambiguity of Converso Lives 160
Sabbatean Syncretism 163
The Conflicting Loyalties of Christian Hebraists 173
The Mediating Roles of Jewish Converts to Christianity 180
Jewish Christians and Christian Jews 186

Chapter Six: Toward Modernity: Some Final Thoughts 191
When Does the Early Modern Period Begin and When Does It End? 193
Early Haskalah, Early Modernity, and Haskalah Reconsidered 198
Viewing the Modern Era in the Light of the Early Modern 202
Appendix: H istoriographical Re flec tions 207
Jonathan Israel's Interpretation of Early
Modern Jewish Culture 207
Jewish Historians on the Early Modern Period 214
Early Modernity in European and World Historiography 220

Acknowledgments 227
Notes 231
Bibliography of Secondary Works 287
Index 319

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