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Regional Identities and Cultures of Medieval Jews$
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Javier Castaño, Talya Fishman, and Ephraim Kanarfogel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764678

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764678.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
(p.iii) Regional Identities and Cultures of Medieval Jews
Talya Fishman
Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the existence of Jewish regional cultures and the prominence of two groups, Ashkenaz and Sepharad as biblical toponyms adopted by medieval Jews. It explains that Ashkenaz was adopted by settlers in Carolingian Franco-Germany, while Sepharad was adopted by settlers in Islamic al-Andalus. It also mentions historian Jonathan Ray, who showed that Iberian Jews of the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries identified themselves not as Sephardim, but as Jews of a particular town or principality. The chapter considers the Sepharad, which was a catch-all identity first used by the established residents of non-Iberian lands and applied to Jewish newcomers from Spain. It reviews Joseph Davis's study of early modern halakhic codes that demonstrates how Ashkenaz became an umbrella category in the sixteenth century.

Keywords:   Jewish regional cultures, Ashkenaz, Sepharad, medieval Jews, non-Iberian lands, halakhic codes

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