Cultural Change Among the Jews of Early Modern Italy: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Cultural Change Among the Jews of Early Modern Italy

1st Edition

By Robert Bonfil


342 pages

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Hardback: 9781409400165
pub: 2010-05-28
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The articles collected in this volume display Robert Bonfil's pioneering reappraisal of the economic and socio-cultural history of the Jews of Italy during the Renaissance and the early modern period, focusing on their encounter with and incorporation into the Italian society that surrounded them. Rather than thinking in terms of challenge and response, and the passive surrender of the Jews to the influence of their Christian surroundings, Bonfil's exploration of the evidence shows it mirroring their conscious choice to preserve a distinctive Jewish identity while at the same time being an integral part of the socio-economic and cultural fabric of the environment in which they lived. Rejecting the ideological assumptions of both the lachrymose and anti-lachrymose conceptions of Jewish history, these are articles which provide stimulating explorations of the realities of the era, and paradigms and case studies of the processes of cultural adjustment to the impact of constantly changing otherness.


'This volume provides a look at a lifetime of scholarship and thought on the Jews of early modern Italy…essays do much to dispel the golden-age depiction of Jewish life in Renaissance Italy.' Sixteenth Century Journal

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; The historian's perception of the Jews in the Italian Renaissance: towards a reappraisal; Some reflections on the place of Azariah de Rossi's Meor Enayim in the cultural milieu of Italian Renaissance Jewry; Halakhah, Kabbalah and society: some insights into Rabbi Menahem Azariah da Fano's inner world; Cultura e mistica a Venezia nel cinquecento; How golden was the age of the Renaissance in Jewish historiography?; Change in the cultural patterns of a Jewish society in crisis: Italian Jewry at the close of the 16th century; Preaching as mediation between elite and popular cultures: the case of Judah del Bene; Changing mentalities of Italian Jews between the periods of the Renaissance and the Baroque; Italy - the sad epilogue to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain; Gli ebrei d'Italia e la riforma: una questione da riconsiderare; Jewish attitudes toward history and historical writing in pre-modern times; A cultural profile (of the Jews in early modern Venice); Il problema dei conversos nel XV secolo e le sue ripercussioni per la ristrutturazione dell'atteggiamento ebraico nei confronti del cristianesimo all'alba dell'epoca moderna; Index.

About the Author

Robert Bonfil, Emeritus Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General