Rabbis and Jewish Communities in Renaissance Italy

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9781874774174: Rabbis and Jewish Communities in Renaissance Italy

Focusing on the figure of the rabbi, this book provides a vivid picture of Italian Jewry during the Renaissance. The author discusses Jewish life of the period (c.1450 1600) in its social, institutional, and cultural aspects, placing them against the backdrop of the wider Catholic environment to give an original interpretation of how Jewish cultural and religious life developed in the Renaissance context. Particular attention is given to changes in the status and functions of the rabbis and to the relations between the rabbinate and the lay leadership. Of special interest is the exploration of the cultural world of the rabbis and the broader issue of intellectual developments at the time. Essentially a translation of Part I of the Hebrew edition, which won wide acclaim for its perspective, Rabbis and Jewish Communities in Renaissance Italy has been carefully adapted for an English-speaking readership. Substantial excerpts from the appendices have been incorporated into the text so that the evidence necessary to support the arguments is easily accessible.

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Review:

Masterly work . . . By means of a probing and thorough examination of archival material and both manuscript and printed sources, he has revealed the full complexities of this institution which brooks no simple generalization . . . undoubtedly a major study on the rabbinate. His controversial stand on many issues related to the Italian Renaissance has and will continue to stimulate fertile discussion.' --Joanna Weinberg, Journal of Semitic Studies

Comprehensive and exhaustive . . . Bonfil s great proficiency in Hebrew and Italian sources, as well as his careful analysis and scholarly precision make for a penetrating study and discussion. This is a well balanced representation of social and intellectual history, motivated by internal developments while giving due recognition to the contribution of outside influences upon the cultural and communal life of Italian Jewry. --Moshe Idel, Immanuel

The Jerusalem volume by Robert Bonfil has already told us much that we did not know about the Italian rabbis of the Renaissance. --Arnaldo Momigliano, New York Review of Books

About the Author:

Robert Bonfil is Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of Jewish Life in Renaissance Italy (1994) and of several articles and translations in different languages.

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Bonfil, Robert
Published by U.S.A.: Littman Library Of Jewish Civilization (1993)
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