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European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750 (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization) [Paperback]

Jonathan I. Israel

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Book Description

1 Nov 1997 Littman Library of Jewish Civilization
This survey history of Jewish life and culture in early modern Europe is the first to focus on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as a radically new phase in Jewish history. The book lays particular emphasis on the reversal of trends in western and central Europe in the late sixteenth century, which was followed by a rapid increase in Jewish numbers and activity, and far-reaching reorganization of Jewish society and institutions. A major consequence of these changes was a much expanded and more varied Jewish role in European civilization as a whole. The first edition of this book was the joint winner of the Wolfson Literary Prize for History in 1986. For this third edition, the book has been updated and includes a new introduction.

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Review

'This comprehensive account of rapid political and economic change over two centuries should become standard reading for all historians of early modern Europe.' --Theodore K. Rabb, Times Literary Supplement

'A beautiful work of scholarship and synthesis that should immediately become a standard text . . . For the first time, the history of early modern European Jewry is presented as a coherent whole and in a form recognizable to non-Jewish scholars, adhering to all of the standards of scholarship . . . Israel's sparkling book should eliminate that blind spot found in so many historical works, which should be dealing with Jewish themes but have not done so simply because no suitable guide was readily to hand.' --David S. Katz, English Historical Review

'An ambitious and much needed study of Jewish life and culture in the context of Europe's intellectual and religious history . . . a skilful synthesis of current scholarship. To this he has brought his own sharply critical judgement and a highly original interpretative theory . . . highly stimulating.' --Henry Roseveare, Economic History Review

About the Author

Jonathan I. Israel is Professor in the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, and was formerly Professor of Dutch History and Institutions at the University of London. He is the author of The Dutch Republic and the Hispanic World, 1606 1661 (1986), Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585 1740 (1989), Empires and Entrepots: The Dutch, the Spanish Monarchy, and the Jews, 1585 1713 (1990), The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall, 1477 1806 (1995), Conflicts of Empires: Spain, the Low Countries, and the Struggle for World Supremacy, 1585 1713 (1997), Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650 1750, and Diasporas within a Diaspora: Jews, Crypto-Jews, and the World Maritime Empires, 1540 1740 (2002), and editor of The Anglo-Dutch Moment: Essays on the Glorious Revolution and its World Impact (1991). He has held visiting professorships and research fellowships in the Netherlands and France, and at the University of California at Los Angeles, and is a Fellow of the British Academy.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting 18 Mar 2007
By Cees Jan Mol - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
What I learned from this book is that Jewish culture, as I have come to understand it now, was not a product of Western European socio-geographical historical idiosyncracies.

This book details how Jewish people were forced to leave their homes in Spain, Portugal and increasingly all Western European countries. Two migration flows seem to have occurred: one into Northern Eastern Europe, one to the East of the Mediterranean. That is apparently where a major condensation of Jewish culture occurred.

Other very interesting insights I gained deal with the role of money in medieval Europe, the stifling role of the Catholic church, the importance of kings and other absolute rulers, pathways of commerce and the role of old cities.

Highly interesting.
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