Archive for February, 2008

Overview: Women, Gender, and Learning
By February 29, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Overview: Women, Gender, and Learning

While Jewish learning was the domain of a few educated men, women too had their part, limited as it might have been. Most works for “women and unlearned men” were penned by men, and there are few early modern texts by women – among them memoirs, letters, and prayers, or tkhines. Perhaps one of the […]

Overview: Shabbatai Zvi and Sabbateanism
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Overview: Shabbatai Zvi and Sabbateanism

Of far greater impact was the messianic movement that arose around Shabbetai Zvi (1626-1672). In fact, in its scope and intensity the so-called Sabbatian movement has no parallel in Jewish history. It drew its strength from traditional Jewish hopes for political and spiritual redemption; but the specific catalyst for it was the kabbalistic interpretation of […]

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Overview: Shlomo Molkho and David Reuveni
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Overview: Shlomo Molkho and David Reuveni

After the Expulsion from Spain and the forced conversions in Portugal, many Jews and New Christians, seeking an explanation for the twin disasters, saw in them signs of the approaching messianic era – that is, the necessary “birth pangs.” They could point to a series of events that appeared to be further signs- the conquest […]

Overview: History-writing
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Overview: History-writing

The sixteenth century brought with it a surge in Jewish historical writing. For the most part, as Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi has pointed out, Jews tended to preserve historical memories through legends and rituals. And in fact, in the medieval period there had been few attempts by Jews to write their history. It is true that […]

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Overview: Halakhah
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Overview: Halakhah

Although literacy rate among Jews was still very low, and only a few could read and write, the early modern period produced a number of influential rabbis and texts that shaped Judaism for centuries to come. One of the most notable creations of the period was the Shulhan `Arukh. Although initially written as an aid […]

Overview: Lurianic Kabbalah and Mysticism
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Overview: Lurianic Kabbalah and Mysticism

After the expulsion from Spain, many Sephardic Jews moved to the Ottoman empire where they were welcome as useful economic agents (see above). Some settled in the town of Safed, a commercial crossroads connecting Egypt, Jerusalem, Damascus and Beirut. A sixteenth century Italian Jew, Moses Bosola, reported that- The city [of Safed] is filled with […]

Overview: Innovations among Conversos and Portuguese Jews
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Overview: Innovations among Conversos and Portuguese Jews

Expressions of Jewish belief among the descendants of forcibly converted Jews in Spain – and particularly Portugal – persisted clandestinely into the eighteenth century. Under the scrutiny of the Inquisition, and in the absence of Jewish communal institutions, Jewish books, rabbinic leaders, or extensive contact with the wider Jewish world, crypto-Jewish beliefs inevitably evolved dramatically […]

Innovations among Conversos and Portuguese Jews
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Innovations among Conversos and Portuguese Jews

Overview Overview- Innovations among Conversos and Portuguese Jews Primary sources and presentations “The Jewishness of Conversos,” Talya Fishman, University of Pennsylvania, USA. Secondary sources Altmann, Alexander. “The Eternality of Punishment- A Theological Controversy within the Amsterdam Rabbinate in the Thirties of the Seventeenth Century,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 40 (1972), 1-88. […]

Overview: Impact of Printing
By February 28, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Overview: Impact of Printing

Printing The introduction of moveable type and the printing press to Europe in the mid-fifteenth century revolutionized the way knowledge was transmitted and had a profound, if not quite immediate, impact on both Jewish and Christian culture. Although books remained expensive commodities and literacy remained low throughout the early modern period, the printing press allowed […]

Overview: Austria and Bohemian Lands
By February 27, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Overview: Austria and Bohemian Lands

For the most part, conditions in Austria and the Bohemian lands resembled those in the German states. From the fourteenth century, the hostility of the burghers and anti-Jewish preaching by the clergy created a harsh atmosphere, and many Jews from these lands migrated eastward, or left towns and resettled in rural areas. In the fifteenth […]

Posted in: Early Modern Period