This book offers the first in-depth treatment of Jewish images of and behavior toward Blacks during the period of peak Jewish involvement in Atlantic slave-holding. Based on a wide-range of sources in several languages, many previously unexplored and unpublished in English, it addresses some basic scholarly questions: What do primary sources tell us about relations between early modern Blacks and Jews? What do Jewish sources, textual and archival, convey about Blacks? If Jews lived according to Jewish law, did Jewish behavior toward their slaves take shape under its influence? What does the Jewish legal tradition say about slavery and behavior toward slaves? Is there a connection between Jewish textual attitudes toward Blacks and Jewish behavior toward them? If so, how do the two inform one another? Attempting to move beyond inter-ethnic polemics, this book constructs a cultural and social portrait of Jews - mostly Sephardic - amid a larger socio-economic context, one from which Jews differed little, their religious otherness notwithstanding.
Jonathan Schorsch is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies in the Religion Department of Columbia University. He has published articles in American Jewish History, European Judaism, and Jewish Culture and History, among other academic journals and is also the Jewish Book Editor for Tikkun magazine.
1. Introduction; 2. Abravanel's ambivalent Africans; 3. Jews and their slaves: theory and reality; 4. Blacks in Jewish society East of the Atlantic; 5. Moshe's Kushite wife; 6. Imagining Kushites; 7. Explorations in the cross-cultural genealogy of the curse of Ham; 8. Inventing Jewish whiteness in the seventeenth-century Western Sephardic diaspora; 9. The religious life of slaves belonging to Jews in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch and English colonies; 10. Into the enlightenment: Jews and Blacks in the long eighteenth century; 11. Conclusion; 12. Appendices.
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- ID: 9780521820219
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