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Love, Work and DeathJewish Life in Medieval Umbria$
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Ariel Toaff

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774198

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774198.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 July 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Love, Work and Death
Author(s):

Ariel Toaff

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774198.003.0001

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the emergence of Jewish communities in the regions of central and northern Italy. The growth of these new communities, which archival documentation shows to have been surprisingly rapid and widespread, had its origin in the northward migration from Rome of Jewish merchants engaged in the money trade. This book explores the everyday life of the Jews of Umbria, which can act as a template for the reconstruction of the world-view of much of Italian Jewry in the late Middle Ages. Though many aspects of Christian society encroached on the Jewish way of life at this period, they rarely amounted to a brutal intrusion and were more usually felt as a constant and insidious influence, born of the unequal power-struggle between the opposing societies. The attempt to fit in brought with it not only a dawning awareness of the gulf that separated the Jews from their Christian counterparts but also a heightened sense of the divisions within the Jewish community itself. A true picture of Jewish community life in medieval Italy must therefore take account of the many pressures and contradictions acting from within and without.

Keywords:   Jewish communities, migration, Jewish merchants, Umbria, Italian Jewry, Christian society, Jews, Christians, Jewish community life, medieval Italy

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