By Esther Benbassa
Within the first English-language variation of a basic, man made heritage of French Jewry from antiquity to the current, Esther Benbassa tells the fascinating story of the social, monetary, and cultural vicissitudes of a humans in diaspora. With verve and perception, she unearths the variety of Jewish existence all through France's areas, whereas exhibiting how Jewish identification has continually redefined itself in a rustic recognized for either the Rights of guy and the Dreyfus affair. starting with past due antiquity, she charts the migrations of Jews into France and strains their fortunes during the making of the French state, the Revolution, the increase of contemporary anti-Semitism, and the present renewal of curiosity in Judaism.
As early because the fourth century, Jews inhabited Roman Gaul, and via the reign of Charlemagne, a few figured prominently at court docket. The conception of Jewish impact on France's rulers contributed to a conflict among church and monarchy that might culminate within the mass expulsion of Jews within the fourteenth century. The booklet examines the re-entry of small numbers of Jews as New Christians within the Southwest and the emergence of a brand new French Jewish inhabitants with the country's acquisition of Alsace and Lorraine.
The saga of modernity comes subsequent, starting with the French Revolution and the granting of citizenship to French Jews. distinct but quick-paced discussions of key episodes keep on with: growth made towards social and political integration, the transferring social and demographic profiles of Jews within the 1800s, Jewish participation within the financial system and the humanities, the mass migrations from japanese Europe on the flip of the 20th century, the Dreyfus affair, persecution less than Vichy, the Holocaust, and the postwar arrival of North African Jews.
Reinterpreting such topics as assimilation, acculturation, and pluralism, Benbassa unearths that French Jews have built-in effectively with no constantly risking lack of id. released to nice acclaim in France, this ebook brings vital present matters to endure at the learn of Judaism ordinarily, whereas making for dramatic analyzing.
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Additional info for The Jews of France: A History from Antiquity to the Present.
Having to be ruled and judged in accordance with rabbinic law, the halakhah, it was incumbent upon the Jews to gather together and form an entity endowed with its own institutions that could supply those services that were indispensable to the pursuit of Jewish J EW I S H L I F E I N T H E M I D D L E AG E S 27 life in conformity with tradition. The community took care of the individual from birth until death, as a member of the collectivity, assuring personal security and representation before various powers and creating a framework of institutional solidarity capable of meeting the needs of the most impoverished.
The eleventh and twelfth centuries saw the spiritual and cultural development of Jewish communities to the north of the Loire, particularly in Champagne, a region not dependent on the royal administration, which attests to the favorable conditions of life and work under the seigneurial regime. The gradual economic and cultural reconstruction of Jewish communities in the West from the Carolingian epoch onward began to have an influence upon Judaism as a whole in the twelfth century, leading to a shift of its center of gravity from East to West.
Oriental influence made itself felt on Frankish soil through the activity of Radanites who were in contact with the communities of the region, reaching its height in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It was only toward the end of the tenth century, or the beginning of the eleventh century, that the Talmud arrived in France, and even then the Jews did not scrupulously observe its teachings. On the other hand, prekabbalistic texts seem to have been relatively well known. Contacts between the Orient and the Carolingian Empire led a doctor of law named Mahir to leave Babylonia and settle in Narbonne, where he founded a talmudic school that helped establish Jewish studies in France.
The Jews of France: A History from Antiquity to the Present. by Esther Benbassa