Jews in the Early Modern World

Overview

The study of early modern history has exploded in the last several decades. Many new historical sources have been identified and examined and a host of exciting studies, employing a wide range of innovative methodologies, have been produced. Scholars of Jewish history have begun to ask to what extent the early modern period had a Jewish dimension; they have also begun to reconsider the nature of traditional periodization of Jewish history. Jews in the Early Modern World attempts to synthesize some of this ...
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Jews in the Early Modern World

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Overview

The study of early modern history has exploded in the last several decades. Many new historical sources have been identified and examined and a host of exciting studies, employing a wide range of innovative methodologies, have been produced. Scholars of Jewish history have begun to ask to what extent the early modern period had a Jewish dimension; they have also begun to reconsider the nature of traditional periodization of Jewish history. Jews in the Early Modern World attempts to synthesize some of this exciting new research and present it in a broader comparative and global perspective. Jews in the Early Modern World argues that the years between 1400 and 1700 represented a discrete, cohesive and important period in Jewish history. Given the significant demographic shifts that began just before and ended just after this period, remarkable changes occurred in the history and experiences of Jews around the world. This volume begins with a broad context of Jewish experiences under medieval Christianity and Islam. It then turns to the early modern period, first providing an overview of Jewish demography and settlement. Next, the nature and structure of Jewish community and social structures in the early modern period are explored. In the final two chapters, this book presents a broad overview of Jewish religious and cultural life and Jewish relations with non-Jews throughout the early modern period. Jews in the Early Modern World will serve as a useful resource for a wide range of courses in medieval and early modern history, Jewish history and world history. It includes a bibliography of English-language works cited, a wealth of suggestions for further reading, a glossary of terms, a timeline of key events, and numerous maps and images.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
[This book] is not only a useful advanced textbook with a well-written narrative, but a splendid, high-level window into the theme useful for scholarly nonspecialists. . . . No comparable comprehensive book is available. This will be the standard introductory work on the theme for both early modern history and Jewish history and is an absolute must for every library. . . . Essential. All levels/libraries.
— June 2008, Vol 45, No 10
Thomas A. Brady
Dean Phillip Bell provides at last a masterful and comprehensive overview of the era that was traditionally seen as an interim between the Middle Ages and the modern age of Jewish emancipation. Bell's most important innovation is to bring to an already distinguished tradition of Jewish history the fruits of a generation of scholarship on European, including Jewish, social history. Bell is critical where he must be, generous where he can be, and always thorough. This is a book for students, scholars, and all lovers of history.
Constantin Fasolt
Bell offers a comprehensive synopsis of the whole range of Jewish life and experience in the early modern world, including Asia and the Americas. His wide reading, sane judgment, and good eye for the telling detail make it difficult to imagine a more successful introduction to the subject.
Arthur Lesley
The presentation of three hundred years of Jewish life over much of the surface of the world requires a balance of vivid examples and simplifying generalization. Bell, in a balanced voice, skillfully navigates between specifics and generalization to provide the fundamental features of the period. The book subdues the dizzying variety of phenomena by presenting them consistently in the categories of social, legal and economic history, rather than multiple, disconnected narratives from unrelated places. A timeline and glossary of terms, as well as illustrations, maps and tables assist readers who are unprepared in Jewish history.
February 2008 Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal Of Jewish Studies
The book's greatest accomplishment is bringing to our attention Jewish communities beyond Europe and the Ottoman Empire, and as such might open up new horizons for both students and teachers of the early modern period in general, or Jewish history in particular.
CHOICE - June 2008
[This book] is not only a useful advanced textbook with a well-written narrative, but a splendid, high-level window into the theme useful for scholarly nonspecialists. . . . No comparable comprehensive book is available. This will be the standard introductory work on the theme for both early modern history and Jewish history and is an absolute must for every library. . . . Essential. All levels/libraries.
June 2009 Religious Studies Review
This book can serve as a useful reference book that provides a clear and readable introduction to many topics in greater depth than an encyclopedia entry would do. The contents are clearly organized with an emphasis on providing basic data and information and less on presenting broader themes. The result is a clearly written guide that gives serious attention to the oft-neglected field of social history and not only to intellectual and political topics. The coverage of a wide range of communities is admirable.
Summer 2009 Sixteenth Century Journal
This survey would be well suited to upper-level undergraduate classes on early modern history or courses on the history of Judaism.
Sander L. Gilman
Dean Bell's Jews in the Early Modern World is intelligent and well written. Presenting the world of European Jewry from the early Middle Ages, through the rise of Islam, to the Age of Discovery in the light of Jewish religious practice, communal history, and social interactions, Bell's book is clear and accessible. One of the few books that looks both at the internal history of the Jews as well as the relationship of this history to the greater currents of the time, it is the ideal textbook for a Jewish studies class on modern Jewish history as well as a world history class dealing with the Jews in the early modern world.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742545175
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/26/2007
  • Pages: 318
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Dean Phillip Bell is dean and professor of Jewish history at Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago.
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter 1: A Medieval Context Chapter 3 Chapter 2: Settlement and Demography Chapter 4 Chapter 3: Community and Social Life Chapter 5 Chapter 4: Identity: Religion and Culture Chapter 6 Chapter 5: Relations with the Other 7 Conclusions 8 Glossary of Terms 9 Bibliography 10 Suggestions for Further Reading
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