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Level 5

5AAH2002 European Jewry & Transition to Modernity, 1650-1850

Credit value: 30
Module convenor/tutor (2018/19): Professor Adam Sutcliffe 
Module convenor/tutor (2019/20)Professor Adam Sutcliffe
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment:1 x 3 hour examination (60%), 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each) & 1 x oral presentation (10%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment by the following methods: 1 x 3 hour examination (60%); 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each); 1 x 1,500 word essay (10%)

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

The upheavals that marked the emergence of the modern era were experienced with particular intensity by the Jews of Europe. In 1650 almost all European Jews lived within insular and religiously traditional communities, their position in wider society subject to a range of legislative constraints. By the late nineteenth century Jews were a highly variegated but disproportionally urban, bourgeois, and culturally prominent minority, closely associated with the development of both capitalism and socialism, and the primary polemical scapegoat of discontents of modernity. This course will explore the changes in Jewish identity and experience, and in policies and attitudes toward Jews, over this period of transformation, investigating the different dynamics of change in western, southern and eastern Europe. Key topics and themes will include: Jewish/Christian relations, Jews in the European economy, early modern ‘Court Jews’ and ‘Port Jews’, Enlightenment and Haskalah (‘Jewish Enlightenment’), assimilation and Jewish bourgeois culture, Jewish religious reform and neo-traditionalism. Throughout we will seek to ask how the Jewish case illuminates broader questions of cultural change and intercultural relations in modern European history.

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these texts is not mandatory.

Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern World - A Documentary History (Oxford, 1995)

Jacob Katz, Out of the Ghetto: The Social Background of Jewish Emancipation, 1770-1870 (Syracuse University Press, 1998

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