Early Modern Jewish History

Ongoing Trends, Global Directions

in Church History and Religious Culture
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Whereas most fields devoted to the study of minorities define the subjects of their inquiries in opposition to the ethnic, racial, religious, or gender hierarchies of society, Jewish studies has, traditionally fashioned itself along the norms of the European, western humanistic tradition. In this essay I suggest that the study of Jews and Jewish life in and out of early modern Europe provides an opportunity to revise this paradigm and offer two directions for the future of the field: the synthesis of the Jews’ histories of persecution and integration in Europe; and the exploration of the Jews’ role in global history.

Early Modern Jewish History

Ongoing Trends, Global Directions

in Church History and Religious Culture




Ibid. 63. Writing in 1928Baron understood quite clearly that European nationalisms though they defined themselves as secular found it difficult to incorporate Jews. As he says: “At any rate it is clear that emancipation has not brought the golden age … Certainly its belief in the efficacy of a process of complete assimilation has been proved untenable. Autonomy as well as equality must be given its place in the modern State and much time must pass before these two principles will be fully harmonized and balanced.” For more on Baron’s lachrymose conception see David Engel “Crisis and Lachrymosity: on Salo Baron Neobaronianism and the Study of Modern European Jewish History” Jewish History 20:3–4 (2006) 342–264; and the special issue of the Association for Jewish Studies Review with contributions by Elisheva Carlebach David Engel David Sorkin and Adam Teller: “Symposium: Rethinking Salo W. Baron in the Twenty-First Century” AJS Review 38 (2014) 417–445.


Nicholas Terpstra“Imagined Communities of the Reformation,” The Sixteenth Century Journal 40 no. 1 (2009) 223.




Cornelia Aust“Between Amsterdam and Warsaw: Commercial Networks of the Ashkenazic Mercantile Elite,” Jewish History 27.1 (2013) 41–71; Francesca Trivellato The Familiarity of Strangers; Francesca Trivellato Leor Halevi and Catia Antunes eds. Religion and Trade: Cross-Cultural Exchanges in World History 1000–1900 1 edition (Oxford and New York 2014); Jonathan Israel Diasporas Within a Diaspora: Jews Crypto-Jews and the World of Maritime Empires 1540–1740 (Leiden and Boston 2002); Studnicki-Gizbert A Nation Upon the Ocean Sea; Kagan and Morgan eds. Atlantic Diasporas.


Sylvia Tomasch“Postcolonial Chaucer and the Virtual Jew,” The Postcolonial Middle AgesJeffrey Cohen ed. (New York 2000) 243–260; Jessica Boon “Violence and the ‘Virtual Jew’ in Castilian Passion Narratives 1490s–1510s.” Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies 8.1 (2016) 1–20.


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