Jews and Blacks in the Early Modern World

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Going beyond inter-ethnic polemics, this book describes the ways Jews imagined and treated Blacks during the first three centuries of the Atlantic slave trade and European colonialism. Jonathan Schorsch uses many previously unexamined sources to reveal the scope of Jewish anti-Blackness in Portugal, the Ottoman Empire, Italy, Amsterdam and the Caribbean. His study concludes that Jewish attitudes and behavior remained barely distinguishable from general European trends, less intense, although hardly benign.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A work of immense scholarship and elegant writing—encyclopedic in scope."
-Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies

"The study as a whole is an important contribution to research and should be read by all thsoe interested in understanding the formation of the modern Jewish mentality."
-Abraham Melamed, University of Haifa

"Schorsch has written an imposing and illuminating[...]book on an important and often polemically cahrged subject. Ideally, Jews and Blacks in the Early Modern World will be a major contribution to that yet-to-be-written history of the origins and development of European racism."
-April G. Shelford, American University, American Jewish History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521820219
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2003
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Schorsch is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies in the Religion Department of Columbia University. He has published articles in American Jewish History, European Judaism, and Jewish Culture and History, among other academic journals and is also the Jewish Book Editor for Tikkun magazine.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Abravanel's ambivalent Africans; 3. Jews and their slaves: theory and reality; 4. Blacks in Jewish society East of the Atlantic; 5. Moshe's Kushite wife; 6. Imagining Kushites; 7. Explorations in the cross-cultural genealogy of the curse of Ham; 8. Inventing Jewish whiteness in the seventeenth-century Western Sephardic diaspora; 9. The religious life of slaves belonging to Jews in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch and English colonies; 10. Into the enlightenment: Jews and Blacks in the long eighteenth century; 11. Conclusion; 12. Appendices.

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