The Jews of Early Modern Venice
In this authoritative volume, specialists from many fields of Jewish studies provide an introduction to the history of the ghetto of Venice and up-to-date scholarship on the subject from the perspectives of various disciplines—including political, economic, women's, institutional, social and cultural history, religious studies, and musicology. While the book's coverage extends throughout Venetian history and to the broader contexts of Italy, the main focus is the period when Jewish life in the city was at its most vigorous—from the early sixteenth to early eighteenth centuries, a period which saw the creation of both the cultural heritage and the physical architecture that came to characterize the ghetto.
The eleven essays constituting the volume are divided into three sections. The first section, titled "Settlement," provides a historical overview and topographical prologue. The second section, "Ethnicities and Identities," examines the varied social groups that combined to make up the ghetto community. The final section, "Cultures," looks at the traditions of faith, thought, and art which were produced in the Venetian ghetto over the centuries.
As the editors point out, the ghetto and its community "paradoxically was at the same time an integral part of the city of Venice while also rigorously excluded from it." The constraints of the ghetto and the concomitant interaction of various Jewish traditions produced a remarkable cultural flowering.
About the Authors
Robert C. Davis is an associate professor of Italian history at the Ohio State University. His publications include Shipbuilders of the Venetian Arsenal, The War of the Fists, and (coedited with Judith Brown) Gender and Society in Renaissance Italy. Benjamin Ravid is Jennie and Mayer Weisman Professor of Jewish History at Brandeis University. He is the author of Economics and Toleration in Seventeenth Century Venice: The Background and Context of the Discorso of Simone Luzzatto.
[ The Jews of Early Modern Venice] is a particularly good study of how a minority group can fit into a general culture, yet retain its identity and develop new forms of culture.
The Jews of Early Modern Venice is a rich anthology of essays on ethinicity and identity, commerce and culture, and other matters relating to a time well before the great wooden gates of the ghetto of Venice were taken down.
[This volume] contributes to an enhanced understanding of the varied social groups, the traditions of faith and thought, and the art produced in the Venetian ghetto... These essays demonstrate the remarkable cultural and religious complexity of Jewish life in early modern Venice.
We have reason to welcome this collection of essays on the Jews of Venice... [ The Jews of Early Modern Venice] offers a unified portrait that poionts the way toward understanding modes of acculturation: how Jews might be insiders and outsiders at the same time.
This unusually coherent collection of essays on the theme of Jewish community life in early modern Venice deserves a wide readership.
The essays in this fine volume are the result of years of intensive research of a diverse collection of source materials by a cadre of some of the most renowned scholars in numerous fields within the history of early modern Venice and early modern Judaism... The volume eloquently contextualizes the history and development of Jewish settlement in Venice and the role of the Jews in the broader city and its territories.
A volume of substantial, scholarly essays that is without parallel in its field. The Jews of Early Modern Venice is an encyclopedic work: between two covers the reader will find sound, comprehensive treatments of all aspects of the Jewish experience in Venice.
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