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European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750$
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Jonathan I. Israel

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774426

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774426.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

Exodus from the West

Exodus from the West

(p.4) I Exodus from the West
European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750

Jonathan Israel

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the mass exodus of Jews from western and central Europe, which began in the later fifteenth century and shifted the focus of European Jewish life to Poland, Lithuania, and the Ottoman Balkans. It was the outcome of a rising tide of anti-Jewish agitation which swept the whole of Europe from Portugal to Brandenburg and from the Netherlands to Sicily. This new and vast process continued relentlessly down to the 1570s, by when the exodus was almost complete. Thus, this new phase, a sequence of expulsions which drastically restricted Jewish life west of Poland, was essentially a product of the dawning modern era — of the age of the Renaissance — rather than of the Middle Ages. Paradoxical though it may seem, this new and more thorough-going rejection of Jews and Judaism coincided with what in other respects represented a dramatic broadening in culture and attitudes, including a deeper Christian involvement in Hebrew and Hebrew literature than had ever been seen previously.

Keywords:   exodus, Jews, European Jewish life, anti-Jewish agitation, expulsions, Renaissance, Judaism, Hebrew, Hebrew literature, Europe

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