Reluctant Cosmopolitans: The Portuguese Jews of Seventeenth-century Amsterdam by Daniel M. SwetschinskiReluctant Cosmopolitans: The Portuguese Jews of Seventeenth-century Amsterdam by Daniel M. Swetschinski

Reluctant Cosmopolitans: The Portuguese Jews of Seventeenth-century Amsterdam

byDaniel M. Swetschinski

Paperback | July 15, 2004

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In the seventeenth century, Amsterdam took in several thousand New Christians from the Iberian peninsula, descendants of Jews who had been forcibly baptized some two hundred years earlier. Shortly after their initial settlement, the members of this mostly Portuguese refugee community chose tomanifest themselves as Jews again. No real obstacles were put in their way. The tolerance extended to them by the Amsterdam authorities was as exemplary as their new-found commitment to Jewish orthodoxy (barring a few famous instances) was strong. These circumstances engendered the new dynamic of atraditional Jewish society creatively engaged with the non-Jewish, secular world in relative harmony. Amsterdam's Portuguese Jewry was in this sense the first modern Jewish community. Through a fresh and rigorous approach to the documents, Daniel Swetschinki's lively and original portrait of thisjustly famous community presents some unexpected conclusions. As well as characterizing the major dimensions of the New Christian migrations and identifying trends within an array of economic activities, it explores the appeal that Judaism as a religion and as a communal structure exercised.Throughout, the analysis focuses on the common rather than the exceptional and seeks the centre from which the interrelationship of all the constituent parts may be grasped. Swetschinski's emphasis is on the social dimension of Portuguese Jewish economic and religious life, formal and informal. Hethereby uncovers the internal dynamics of this remarkable Jewish community that moulded a renegade New Christian population into a model Jewish society, "model" in the sense that it had the support of proponents of modernity and traditionalism alike and also won the respect of the Christianpopulation. His research adds a broad and authentic vision to the panoply of images of early modern Jewish history and enables him to offer new insights into the troublesome question of the transition from medieval to modern Judaism.
Daniel M. Swetschinski was born in Brussels in 1944 and grew up in Amsterdam. He studied Semitic languages, philosophy, and history at the universities of Ghent, Amsterdam and Brandeis, and has taught Jewish history at McGill University and the University of Arizona. His many published articles on Dutch Jewish history include a contrib...
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Title:Reluctant Cosmopolitans: The Portuguese Jews of Seventeenth-century AmsterdamFormat:PaperbackDimensions:392 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:July 15, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1904113125

ISBN - 13:9781904113126

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