Juvenile Sexuality, Kabbalah, and Catholic Reformation in Italy

Tiferet Bahurim by Pinhas Barukh ben Pelatiyah Monselice


This book provides the first publication of the tract Tiferet Bahurim (The Glory of Youth) which was written in the mid-seventeenth century by R. Pinhas Barukh ben Pelatiyah Monselic in Ferrara, Italy. The tract was written as a guide for young men about to marry regarding their family life and their sexual deportment. By analyzing the Tiferet Bahurim Roni Weinstein addresses the following questions: What was the source of the growing interest in sexuality, and controlling juvenile sexuality? How is this tract related to centuries-old Jewish ethical literature, as well as literature in contemporary Catholic Italy? Is the Tiferet Bahurim part of the religious and cultural fermentation of the Counter-Reformation? Finally, did Jewish mysticism and pietism of Kabbalah tradition play a role in the composition of this tract?
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Biographical Note

Roni Weinstein received his Ph.D. in Jewish History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was formerly a fellow at Villa I Tatti, and a research fellow at Pisa University. He has written about various aspects of Jewish Italian history and culture, including his book, Marriage Rituals Italian Style: A Historical Anthropological Perspective on Early Modern Italian Jews, (Brill, 2003).

Table of contents

Chapter One Tiferet Bahurim: A Reading Proposal
Chapter Two Tiferet Bahurim: Structure and Themes
Chapter Three Musar Literature: A Proposal for a Historical
Chapter Four The Originality of the Work
Chapter Five A Book of Advice and Sexual Morality
Chapter Six Continuity and Innovation in Tiferet Bahurim
Chapter Seven Suppressed Voices
Chapter Eight Tiferet Bahurim: Circles of Action
Chapter Nine Between Publication and Concealment
Chapter Ten The Catholic Circle between
Counter-Reformation and “Christian Civilization”
Chapter Eleven Halakhah vs. Kabbalah
Chapter Twelve Tiferet Bahurim as a Pietistic Work: Dealing
with Death
Chapter Thirteen Tiferet Bahurim: A Work on Household
Chapter Fourteen Tiferet Bahurim: A Link in the Civilizing
Chapter Fifteen The Preaching Section of Tiferet Bahurim
Chapter Sixteen A Testament to the Children
Chapter Seventeen Tiferet Bahurim: Summing Up
The Text of Tiferet Bahurim


All those interested in Italian history during the early modern period, Jewish-Italian history and culture, gender studies, cultural studies, and the history of sexuality and/or history of the body.


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