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Living under the Evil Pope

The Hebrew Chronicle of Pope Paul IV by Benjamin Neḥemiah ben Elnathan from Civitanova Marche (16th cent.)

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Martina Mampieri

In Living under the Evil Pope, Martina Mampieri presents the Hebrew Chronicle of Pope Paul IV, written in the second half of the sixteenth century by the Italian Jewish moneylender Benjamin Neḥemiah ben Elnathan (alias Guglielmo di Diodato) from Civitanova Marche. The text remained in manuscript for about four centuries until the Galician scholar Isaiah Sonne (1887-1960) published a Hebrew annotated edition of the chronicle in the 1930s. This remarkable source offers an account of the events of the Papal States during Paul IV’s pontificate (1555-59). Making use of broad archival materials, Martina Mampieri reflects on the nature of this work, its historical background, and contents, providing a revised edition of the Hebrew text as well as the first unabridged English translation and commentary.

Hugo Grotius’s Remonstrantie of 1615

Facsimile, Transliteration, Modern Translations and Analysis

David Kromhout and Adri Offenberg

Grotius wrote the Remonstrantie around 1615 at the request of the States of Holland, to define the conditions under which Jews were to be admitted to the Dutch Republic. At that time, he was already an internationally recognized legal expert in civic and canonic law. The position taken by Grotius with respect to the admission of the Jews was strongly connected with the religious and political tensions existing in the Dutch Republic of the early 17th century. The Remonstrantie shows how Grotius’s views evolved within the confines of the philosophical and religious concepts of his time. It is an example of tolerance within political limits, analyzed by the author David Kromhout and made accessible through a modern translation.

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Francois Soyer

In Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories in the Early Modern Iberian World: Narratives of Fear and Hatred, François Soyer offers the first detailed historical analysis of antisemitic conspiracy theories in Spain, Portugal and their overseas colonies between 1450 and 1750. These conspiracy theories accused Jews and conversos, the descendants of medieval Jewish converts to Christianity, of deadly plots and blamed them for a range of social, religious, military and economic problems. Ultimately, many Iberian antisemitic conspiracy theorists aimed to create a ‘moral panic’ about the converso presence in Iberian society, thereby justifying the legitimacy of ethnic discrimination within the Church and society. Moreover, they were also exploited by some churchmen seeking to impose an idealized sense of communal identity upon the lay faithful.

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Edited by Yosef Kaplan

From the sixteenth century on, hundreds of Portuguese New Christians began to flow to Venice and Livorno in Italy, and to Amsterdam and Hamburg in northwest Europe. In those cities and later in London, Bordeaux, and Bayonne as well, Iberian conversos established their own Jewish communities, openly adhering to Judaism. Despite the features these communities shared with other confessional groups in exile, what set them apart was very significant. In contrast to other European confessional communities, whose religious affiliation was uninterrupted, the Western Sephardic Jews came to Judaism after a separation of generations from the religion of their ancestors. In this edited volume, several experts in the field detail the religious and cultural changes that occurred in the Early Modern Western Sephardic communities.

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Edited by Laura Whatley

A Companion to Seals in the Middle Ages is a cross-disciplinary collection of fourteen essays on medieval sigillography. It is organized thematically, and it emphasizes important, often cutting-edge, methodologies for the study of medieval seals and sealing cultures.
As the chronological, temporal and geographic scope of the essays in the volume suggests, the study of the medieval seal—its manufacture, materiality, usage, iconography, inscription, and preservation—is a rich endeavour that demands collaboration across disciplines as well as between scholars working on material from different regions and periods. It is hoped that this collection will make the study of medieval seals more accessible and will stimulate students and scholars to employ and further develop these material and methodological approaches to seals.
Contributors are Adrian Ailes, Elka Cwiertnia, Paul Dryburgh, Emir O. Filipovi, Oliver Harris, Philippa Hoskin, Ashley Jones, Andreas Lehnertz, John McEwan, Elizabeth A. New, Jonathan Shea, Caroline Simonet, Angelina A. Volkoff, and Marek L. Wójcik.

Lux in Tenebris

The Visual and the Symbolic in Western Esotericism

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Edited by Peter J. Forshaw

Lux in Tenebris is a collection of eighteen original interdisciplinary essays that address aspects of the verbal and visual symbolism in the works of significant figures in the history of Western Esotericism, covering such themes as alchemy, magic, kabbalah, angels, occult philosophy, Platonism, Rosicrucianism, and Theosophy. Part I: Middle Ages & Early Modernity ranges from Gikatilla, Ficino, Camillo, Agrippa, Weigel, Böhme, Yvon, and Swedenborg, to celestial divination in Russia. Part II: Modernity & Postmodernity moves from occultist thinkers Schwaller de Lubicz and Evola to esotericism in literature, art, and cinema, in the works of Colquhoun, Degouve de Nuncques, Bruskin, Doitschinoff, and Pérez-Reverte, with an essay on esoteric theories of colour.

Contributors are: Michael J.B. Allen, Susanna Åkerman, Lina Bolzoni, Aaron Cheak, Robert Collis, Francesca M. Crasta, Per Faxneld, Laura Follesa, Victoria Ferentinou, Joshua Gentzke, Joscelyn Godwin, Hans Thomas Hakl, Theodor Harmsen, Elke Morlok, Noel Putnik, Jonathan Schorsch, György Szönyi, Carsten Wilke, and Thomas Willard.

After Conversion

Iberia and the Emergence of Modernity

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Edited by Mercedes García-Arenal

This book examines the religious and ideological consequences of mass conversion in Iberia, where Jews and Muslims were forcibly converted or expelled at the end of the XVth century and beginning of the XVIth, and in this way it explores the fraught relationship between origins and faith. It treats also of the consequences of coercion on intellectual debates and the production of knowledge, taking into account how integrating new converts from Judaism and Islam stimulated Christian scholars to confront the converts’ sacred texts and created a distinctive peninsular hermeneutics. The book thus assesses the importance of the “Converso problem” in issues such as religious dissidence, dissimulation, and doubt and skepticism while establishing the process by which religious dissidence came to be categorized as heresy and was identified with converts from Judaism and Islam even when Lutheranism was often in the background.