Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract), Casale Monferrato 1671 JNUL, Jerusalem
History 373, JWST 333
Jews in Early Modern Europe (1450–1750)
Francis Scott Key Hall 1117
Instructor: Dr. B. Cooperman
|Please note: I will be updating this syllabus regularly over the course of the semester with announcements of quizzes, reference sources, time-table changes, new readings, etc. Please check back regularly for the latest details.|
The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit http://www.shc.umd.edu.
|To further exhibit your commitment to academic integrity, remember to sign the Honor Pledge on all examinations and assignments: "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination (assignment)."|
Course and Readings Calendar
Bell, Jews in Early Modern Europe, "Introduction" and Chapter 1.
"Isaac Zarfati Warns the Jews to Leave Germany and Settle in Turkey" (c. 1454)
"Provencal Jews in Salonika Beseech Their Fellow Jews in Provence to Join Them" (1550)
Bell, Jews in Early Modern Europe, Chapter 2.
Mon., Feb. 4
First Written Assignment: Due 2/04/08
Historians deal with the specific, but they try to understand each particular person, event, or document within a more general or universalizing context. In other words, historians ascribe significance to the particular by relating it to broader patterns and narratives (stories). But which comes first: the events that have to be woven together into a theme? or the overall theme for which the events are merely illustrations? The answer is never simple, and the two processes are always in tension. Narratives are shaped by the available evidence, and specifics are highlighted or suppressed as they fit in with the overall narrative.
From the texts provided take one contemporary and one modern description of the early modern period. In a paper of approximately two pages (600 words), compare the overall theme that the two writers have ascribed to the Early Modern Period in Jewish history and outline what kind of sources they will have to "privilege" or emphasize, and what kind they will have to dowplay or ignore. Your paper might examine, for example, whether the writers focused on external or internal factors in Jewish history, on religious or secular developments, on certain geographic areas as opposed to others, and so forth. Did the author focus on continuity or on change in the period? What was the writer's attitude towards tradition? Did the writer think the period was one of progress or one of regression? Try to get inside each author's "head" and understand what the point of the story was for him. Enjoy.
Please note that all written assignments must follow an accepted set of formatting conventions. I prefer the Chicago Style Manual, but you are free to use the MLA system as well. Just be consistent.
Papers are meant to make a clear argument; style and spelling, word usage, grammatical and syntactical norms, all count towards the grade you receive.
Mon., Feb. 4 Jews' Special Economic Functions. Jewish Money Lending
Reading: [Note that we will discuss Chapter 2 of Bell (assigned for February 1) in class.]
Extra Credit Assignment
Summarize the definitions of usury and interest presented in the 1911 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia (available online). How did the authors understand the Church's traditional position and the special permission given Jews to lend at interest? As a historian of the Jews, how do you understand the Encyclopedia's presentation? Why did the authors choose to present the issues as they did?
In order to focus your exploration of these terms, feel free to compare the articles with other encyclopedia treatments including the New Catholic Encyclopedia (2003), the Jewish Encyclopedia (1907; expanded 1925; available on the web), the more recent Encyclopedia Judaica (1972; there is also a second edition available through Research Port), a general encyclopedia like the Brittanica, or more specialized ones like the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. How does the period when the article is written or the expected audience for which it was produced affect the argument made by the author?
Wed., Feb. 6 Economic Functions: Levant Trade. Mercantilism. Charters.
Reading: Werner Sombart, The Jews and Modern Capitalism (1911), chapters 1-2, chapter 3, chapter 5.
Please have written answers ready for class on Wednesday.
1. Who was Werner Sombart? What were his areas of interest? When and where did he write? How does locating him in time and space help us to understand why he wrote this book? 2. How does Sombart define capitalism? What does he omit from his definition of capitalism and development? 3. Summarize Sombart's argument about the role of Jews in the development of capitalism. What does he mean by the "modern spirit" and "essential idea" of capitalism (p. 21)? Do these terms mean much to you? 4. Do you think Sombart's ideas could (or were) used by anti-Semitic polemicists? Was Sombart using them anti-semitically? If the same phrases were used about another group, would they be just as threatening?
Fri., Feb. 8 Economic Functions: Court Jews. Craft guilds.
Mon., Feb. 11 The Dynamics of Toleartion and Separation. Theological Issues and Social Tensions. Religious and Economic Factors. The "Jew Badge."
Wed., Feb. 13 Urban Ghettos; Separation and Inclusion
Benjamin Ravid, "From Geographical Realia to Historiographical Symbol: The Odyssey of the Word Ghetto" in David B. Ruderman, ed., Essential Papers on Jewish Culture in Renaissance and Baroque Italy (New York, 1992). McKeldin ref. BM322.E87
Kenneth R. Stow, "The Consciousness of Closure: Roman Jewry and Its Ghet" also in Ruderman, ed., Essential Papers
Amos Elon, Founder: A Portrait of the First Rothschild and His Time (New York, 1997): 19-48. McKeldin ref. HG1552.R82 E46
Fri., Feb. 15 Ritual Murder Accusations
R. Po-Chia Hsia, Trent 1475. Stories of a Ritual Murder (New Haven, 1992). Study Questions
Mon., Feb. 18 Ritual Murder Accusations (cont.)
Second Written Assignment: Due 2/22/08
A paper of approximately 2 pages in length (600 words) in which you try to answer the question: "What was the point of the interrogations and torture used at Trent in 1475?" A full answer will summarize events and personalities involved and then try to establish the motives of the various parties. Feel free to agree or disagree with Hsia on this matter, but be sure you present his case fairly. This is a writing assignment, not a research paper, but you are certainly free to consult other books on the use of evidence, torture, etc. in the period. Enjoy.
Wed., Feb. 20
Fri. Feb. 22
Mon. Feb. 25 Communal Government Structure. Kehillah, "ethnicity," and "class."
Bell, Jews in the Early Modern World, chapter 3.
Katz, Tradition and Crisis, Part II, Chapters 9-19, pp. 65-179 [Study Questions]
Wed. Feb. 27 Communal Government Structure. Rabbis and confraternities.
Fri. Feb. 29 Cultural and Spiritual Developments I: Impact of Printing.
Bell, Jews in the Early Modern World, chapter 4.
Mon., March 3 Cultural and Spiritual Developments II: Rise of Codification.
Isadore Twersky. "The Shulhan Arukh. Enduring Code of Jewish Law." Judaism 16. The article also appeared in Judah Goldin, The Jewish Expression. A xerox of the article and several copies of the Goldin anthology are on reserve in McKeldin Library.
Wed., March 5 Mid-Term Examination [Old Study Questions]
[Thurs. March 6: Midterm grades due.]
Fri., March 7 The Conversos and Religious Ferment.
Miriam Bodian. Hebrews of the Portuguese Nation. Conversos and Community in Early Modern Amsterdam (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997). Note: Chapter 1 ("Introduction") provides a useful summary of the challenges to group and individual identity of conversos from the late 14th century on. McK. DS135.N5A5323 1997.
Mon., March 10 Encounters with the Outside: Christian Hebraism and Ethnography; Polemics; "Proto-Haskala?"
Bell, Jews in the Early Modern World, Chapter 5.
Wed., March 12 A Self-Conscious Era? An Explosion of Jewish Historiography?
Yosef H. Yerushalmi, Zakhor, pages to be announced.
Fri., March 14 Readings in Historiography and Ethnography
Mon. March 17–Fri. March 21 Spring Break
Mon. March 24 Cultural and Spiritual Developments III: Popularization of the Zohar and the Spread of Kabbalah.
Wed., March 26 Cultural and Spiritual Developments IV: Safed. A New Kind of Community?
Solomon Schechter. "Safed in the Sixteenth Century. A City of Legists and Mystics," Studies in Judaism. 2nd Series. Philadelphia: 1908. Pp. 202-285. A xerox of the article and copies of the book are on reserve in McKeldin Library. It is also available online through McKeldin's course reserve online system. [For the password send me an email.]
Fri., March 28Mon., March 31 Cultural and Spiritual Developments IV: Cordoveran and Lurianic Kabbalah. Theory and Practice
Gershom Scholem. Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism. New York. 1946. Reprinted 1995. Chapter 7. "Isaac Luria and his School." Pp. 244-286. A xerox of the chapter and several copies of the book are on reserve in McKeldin Library. It is also available online through McKeldin's course reserve online system. [For the password send me an email.]
Third Written Assignment: Due 3/31/08
A paper of approximately 2 pages in length (600 words) in which you address the following:
Miriam Bodian defines the identity of the Sephardic/Portuguese Jews of Amsterdam as a composite of two elements, an ethnic (Portuguese) identity and a Jewish one. Basing yourself on her book, outline this theory and explain how she develops it. Then, using the example of any single converso (or conversa), decide whether her definition applies to your figure.
You may easily find individual conversos to discuss by using the names of the many individuals Bodian mentions in her book, by using the Jewish Encyclopedia (available on the web) or the Encyclopedia Judaica (hard cover in the library of the first edition; second edition available online through the catalogue [look up the title and click on the electronic edition]), or by using RAMBI (Google this acronym or look it up under databases in Research Port), a listing of every article or book chapter on Jewish Studies published over the past 36 years. Many, and perhaps most, of the articles and book chapters listed in RAMBI will be available in our library. For articles of American academic journals try JSTOR and Project Muse, two databases available through Research Port that have a high concentration of the relevant journals. And of course you can also use the library catalogue itself.
Search terms can include converso, marrano, new christian, anus/im. These are all terms used by various societies to label the Jews who converted to Christianity during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries on the Iberian Peninsula as well as their descendants.
You are not limited to Bodian's examples, nor even to Amsterdam or to specifically Portuguese conversos. For whomever you find, try to decide how useful her conception of identity is. What does she omit? Would her categories apply to the particular individual you have studied? Enjoy.
Wed., April 2 (cont.)
Fri., April 4 No Class
Mon., April 7
Wed., April 9
Bell, Jews in the Early Modern World, Conclusions.
Fri., April 11 Biographies. An Introduction.
Mark Cohen, ed. The Autobiography of a Seventeenth-Century Venetian Rabbi. Leon Modenas Life of Judah.
Fourth Written Assignment: Due 4/11/08
A bibliographical exercise. Pick any topic that we have covered in this course (e.g., Spanish marranism; women in eastern Jewish communities; Jewish community structures; the impact of print technology; kabbalistic pietism in Safed) and develop a research agenda to explore it further.
a) Provide a clear statment of your proposed thesis or the question you expect to investigate.
b) Develop a bibliography of at least twelve items relevant to your investigation. For each, provide a full citation in accordance with standard rules (see Rampolla, chapter 7). At least four of your citations must be monographs. The rest may be chapters from scholarly books or journal articles. For each item, summarize its contents briefly (one or two sentences) and explain why you think it will be relevant to your investigation.
c) Add one further item that you initially thought would be relevant but that you rejected in the end. Explain why.
Mon., April 14 A Rabbis Memoir: Leone Modena (cont.)
Wed, April 16 A Businesswomans Memoir: Glückel of Hamlen
Reading:Marvin Lowenthal, tr. The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln (1977)
Fri., April 18 Gluckel's Memoir (cont.)
Mon. April 21 No Class (Passover)
Wed., April 23 Messianism, Sabbatianism, and its Aftermath.
Reading:Stephen Sharot, Messianism, Mysticism and Magic. A Sociological Analyis of Jewish Religious Movements (Chapel Hill: U. of NC Press, 1982). Chapters 3, 5-7.
G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (1946; New York, 1995; reprint). Chapter 8. "Sabbatianism and Mystical Heresy." Pp. 287-324.
Fri., April 25 Messianism, Sabbatianism, and its Aftermath. Continued.
Mon., April 28
Wed., April 30 East European Religiosity and Learning.
Emanuel Etkes, "The Gaon of Vilna and Haskalah Movement," in Joseph Dan, ed., Binah. II: Studies in Jewish Thought. (New York: Praeger, 1989). McK BM40 .S76 1989
Fri., May 2 East European Religiosity and Learning. (cont.)
Mon. May 5 Hasidism: Origins and Early Spread
Jacob Katz, Tradition and Crisis, chapters 20-22, pages 183-213.
Biographical Essay due in my office by 2:00 pm 5/05/08
A biographically based analytic essay of approximately ten pages entitled either "A Woman of Her Time" or "A Man of His Time" and based on one of the two autobiographies/memoirs we have read. Describe and evaluate the life of either Judah Aryeh (Leon) Modena or Gluckel of Hameln in the context of their place and time. Your paper should include a summary of what you see as the important moments of your subject's life, but it should also go beyond that to address broader themes of early modern Jewish history, such as patterns of change (economic, communal, social, and/or religious), the various roles played by family or gender during the period, and so forth. You are, of course, perfectly free to argue that the subject of your paper was not a typical man or woman of the period, but if you do, make sure that your paper presents a thorough picture of the norm and then explain why you feel your subject was different."A Woman of Her Time" or "A Man of His Time"
Wed., May 7 Haskala: Origins and Argument. The Debate over Traditional Categories
Jacob Katz, Tradition and Crisis, chapters 23-24, pp. 214-236.
Fri., May 9
Mon., May. 12 Course Review
Fifth Written Assignment: Due 5/12/08
|A paper of approximately 2 pages in length (600 words) on the Chassidic and Maskilic approaches to the Bible. Texts will be handed out in class. Enjoy.|
The final examination will be a take-home exam. Answers are to be typed and double spaced. Exams are due in Dr. Cooperman's office at 10:00 pm on Wedneday, May 21, 2008. You are free to hand in the exan earlier placing it in my mail box in the History Department (2115 Francis Scott Key Hall). Please make sure to have your answers time-stamped by someone in the office. Keep a back-up copy of your exam just in case of problems. (Here is last year's final examination).
Bodian, Miriam. Hebrews of the Portuguese Nation. Conversos and Community in Early Modern Amsterdam (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997)
Cohen, Mark, ed. The Autobiography of a Seventeenth-Century Venetian Rabbi. Leon Modenas Life of Judah (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, )
Bell, Dean Phillip, Jews in the Early Modern World (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007)
Jacob Katz, Tradition and Crisis, trans. by Bernard Cooperman (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2000).
Lowenthal, Marvin, trans. Gluckel of Hameln (New York: Schocken, )
R. Po-Chia Hsia, Trent 1475. Stories of a Ritual Murder Trial (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992)
Eli Barnavi, A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People (New York: Schocken, 1995; revised 2003)
Jonathan Israel, European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 15501750
Lawrence Fine, Physician of the Soul, Healer of the Cosmos (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003)
Merrian Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (Merrian Webster, 1994)
Mary Lynn Rampolla, Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 5th edition (Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 2006)
(1) Class Preparation and Participation. Readings should be completed before the first class of the topic under which they appear.
(2) Fvie brief writing assignments based on the readings for class and related research exercises. There may be a few "pop quizzes" based on the reading for a specific class and one or two map quizzes.
(3) A mid-term examination.
(3) A final examination in two parts: one part a "mid-term" based on material covered since the first mid-term, and one part a cumulative set of essay questions based on the entire course with special emphasis on the lectures.
(4) A biographically based analytic essay of approximately ten pages entitled either "A Woman of Her Time" or "A Man of His Time" and based on one of the two autobiographies/memoirs we have read. Describe the life of either Judah Aryeh (Leon) Modena or Gluckel of Hameln in the context of their place and time. Your paper should include a summary of what you see as the important moments of your subject's life, but it should also go beyond that to address broader themes of early modern Jewish history, such as patterns of change (economic, communal, social, and/or religious), the various roles played by family or gender during the period, and so forth. You are, of course, perfectly free to argue that the subject of your paper was not a typical man or woman of the period, but if you do, make sure that your paper presents a thorough picture of the norm and then explain why you feel your subject was different.
Writing Assignments and Quizzes: 15%
Final Exam: 30%
Ten-page Essay: 25%
Class Participation: 15% (Grade depends upon factors such as evidence of preparation, participation in class discussions, etc.).
Extra Credit: Opportunities will be announced in class. One of these will be forming a journal club with other students.
I would very much like to expand this section of the course syllabus. If you find a web-based source that you think is relevant to the course, please send it along, and I will try to add it here. Thank you. --BDC
The Early Modern Workshop is a group of scholars who meet each summer to discuss texts and issues related to Early Modern Jewish history. Each year, participants hear an introductory talks by an invited expert and then discuss prepared texts that are made available in both the original and in English translation. Each discussion is videotaped, and most of the texts and discussions are available on the Workshop's website. Highly recommended. Topics so far include Early Modern Jewries (2004), Jews and Urban Spaces (2005), Gender, Family, Social Structures (2006), and Jewish Consumption and Material Culture (2007).
Internet Jewish History Sourcebook. [One of a number of general and specialized internet sourcebooks for historical study maintained by Paul Halsall at Fordham University. The site includes references to many other sites of interest for students of Jewish and general history. For an overview of the entire site, look at Halsall's home page. Note that material on the early modern period is often to be found in lists devoted to the modern period. Especially useful is the Brief Citation Guide for Internet Sources in History and the Humanities prepared by Melvin E. Page of East Tennessee State University.
The Medici Archive Project. Edward Goldberg directs an innovative project which seeks to survey and digitize large portions of the enormous archival holdings in Florence's Archivio di Stato. One part of the project is devoted to Jewish History, Religion and Culture. The site displays a number of fascinating, annotated documents in Italian transcription as well as English translation.
The Folger Library in Washington D.C. maintains a wonderful list of on-line resources for Early Modern History and Literature.
More than 500 scholarly journals are indexed on-line via Iter, the "Gateway to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance." This goal of project, housed at the University of Toronto, is to increase access to all published materials pertaining to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700), through the creation of online bibliographic databases. The project is currently adding a bibliography of books. "Iter," by the way, means 'a journey' or 'a path' in Latin. The University of Maryland subscribes to Iter; you need a university id or web address in order to gain access through the University Libraries' Research Port.